So far, German car companies Volkswagen and Daimler had been unaffected by the severe downdraft in Europe and brought in record profits. Now, the Teflon seems to be flaking off.
At Volkswagen, the press release has the whistling-in-the-dark headline “Volkswagen Group remains solidly on track,” but reading further, one finds signs of worry. According to the statement, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn thinks that “conditions had become noticeably harder and tougher.” That little sentence sent the VW share 3 percent lower, Reuters reports.
According to the press release, Winterkorn said that “we want to become the world’s best automaker by 2018.” Do we notice a slight change of tack here? Before, it was always “world’s largest automaker by 2018.” Or, even more audacious: World’s best automaker, in units, in profitability, innovation, customer satisfaction. Climbing down?
Last week, reminds us Reuters, Daimler warned that operating profit at Mercedes will fall short of planned targets, citing the slump in Europe and a tougher China business.
Currently, Volkswagen is in the defensive, scaling down sales plans in Europe. There also are rumors about a massive scale-back of plans in China