In an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt, Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn said:
„No question, 2012 will be come much tougher, particularly in Europe, and there especially in highly indebted countries like Italy or Spain.The market will shrink in 2012, and we will suffer from that. We expect the European market to get smaller next year. Also the developments in other areas of the world need to be monitored closely.”
On December 15, Winterkorn will prepare the Volkswagen management for the tough times. At a conference in Dresden, there will be “intensive discussions.” This according to an invitation Automobilwoche [sub] could get its hands on.
In Volkswagen-typical hyperbola, the „Strategie 2018“ has been renamed to „Mach 18“. It’s up to you whether you think this means 18 times the speed of light, or (read in German) „do it in 2018.“
Afterburners may be needed, because for the first time, Winterkorn is worried that he might fail:
“We will reach our Mach 18 targets only with a broad consensus in society.“
If, by 2018, Volkswagen won’t be he largest, most profitable, most admired automaker with the highest customer satisfaction – then it’s the society’s fault. No consensus. Forget about it. New strategy.
Volkswagen is facing more problems than just a soft Europe. There is the never-ending drama with Suzuki. In China, Volkswagen is growing so fast that it has trouble getting qualified personnel. Some factories even have problem getting enough electrical power. And that in a time when China wants to electrify its cars.
According to Automobilwoche, „Winterkorn is worried that the high speed of expansion could create similar problems for Volkswagen as it did fort he Japanese rival Toyota.“
All of this will be discussed on December 15th. It should become an interesting conference.