The start of a production line for the amarok pickup at the hanover main plant at the end of june will further improve the company’s overall competitive position, chief executive officer wolfgang schreiber said on wednesday.
"People are holding back," said harald schomburg, member of the board of management for sales, referring to the growing uncertainty caused by the euro debt crisis. In light commercial vehicle sales, too, the company now has "a lot of ground to cover," especially in southern and western europe. Markets such as germany, austria, switzerland and eastern europe were still doing well: "we expect to reach a similar level in europe as in 2011 – but with a different composition."
For volkswagen, business with vans, transporters and pick-ups is an important source of income. In 2011, the division’s operating profit increased from 232 million euros to a new record level of 449 million euros. Revenue rose from 7.4 to 9 billion euros.
The subsidiary did not provide any information on net profit. All in all, the VW group posted a record profit of 15.8 billion euros in 2011. At 197 million euros, hanoverians invested just as much last year as in 2010. "We have been able to keep up with some of the demand," said CFO klaus-dieter schurmann. Worldwide, the company delivered 528,800 light commercial vehicles – 21.4 percent more than in the previous year.
The brand has high hopes for the amarok. The model launched in spring 2010 tripled its global sales to 66,500 units in 2011. So far, the pickup has been manufactured in pacheco, argentina, but in the future it will also be delivered to european and african customers from germany. Waiting times can be shortened and transport costs reduced, he said: "this will contribute to a significant revival of the economy."40,000 amaroks are to roll off the assembly line each year, with more than 1,000 employees producing the car in hanover.
The caddy city van also achieved a significant increase in sales of almost a quarter to 160,600 vehicles in 2011. Deliveries of T5 vans increased by 5.2 percent to 155,800 units. The crafter small truck increased to 39,600 (up 5.7 percent).
According to schomburg, talks with MAN, the group’s youngest subsidiary, are in full swing regarding the development of a possible successor to the crafter: "of course we are working together with MAN – also in the field of small trucks."
An existing cooperation agreement with mercedes-benz is due to expire at the end of 2016. "We have a good partnership with daimler," said schreiber. However, cooperation with MAN is also a possible alternative, and all possibilities have been explored. The construction of a mini-van based on the VW up is also conceivable.
The head of sales takes his leave at the end of march. "Mr. Schomburg will be leaving the company after a very successful six years," said schreiber. Schomburg justified this with his own plans: "I am the most senior sales executive in the group. So it’s time to do something new for a change."His successor will be ex-daimler manager bram schot, but initially only as a member of the executive board.
Europe’s biggest automaker employs around 17,000 people in its light commercial vehicles division, 12,600 of them in hanover. The subsidiary also produces automotive components there. "The body for the porsche panamera also secures jobs," said schomburg. Additional temporary workers have probably been recruited for the amarok line.