By on August 31, 2012


Volkswagen chief Martin Winterkorn heaped salt into the open wounds of Europe’s embattled automakers. In light of the drooping demand, Europe could  perfectly manage with 10 fewer plants, Winterkorn said in an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt.  However, don’t you’re your breath on Volkswagen shutting down any of its EU assembly lines. Volkswagen stand behind its European sites “without ifs and buts.” What about Sergio Marchionne’s accusations that Volkswagen is waging a brutal price war in Europe? Winterkorn: “Nonsense.”

“Success goes to whoever builds the right cars at the right time at the right place,” said Winterkorn.

With a “we have enough work on our hands at the moment,” Winterkorn dismissed rumors of Volkswagen buying Proton in Malaysia, or others.Volkswagen has enough brands for the moment. Winterkorn echoed prior remarks by his labor chief Bernd Osterloh and said that Volkswagen’s twelve brands must be consolidated first before any new ones are contemplated or acquired.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

14 Comments on “Winterkorn: Marchionne Talks Nonsense...”

  • avatar

    out of volkwagen’s dozen or so brands i can only see that Bugatti and Seat on the chopping block

    Suzuki? They’re toast as far as VW are concerned.

    • 0 avatar
      Polar Bear

      Volkswagen doesn’t really do alliances. They do takeovers. The Germans like to clean house and scare the sh** out of everyone and start giving orders the Wolfsburg way.

      I guess VW saw the stake in Suzuki as a step towards owning a Japanese brand. When that didn’t happen with Suzuki (or Proton) things turned sour.

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    Captain Obvious says: Volkswagen makes desirable cars. That’s why they sell so well. In the Polo, Golf and Passat (Euro version, don’t know about the American beached whale version) they manage to give a buyer more handling, refinement and “poor man’s Mercedes” luxury feel than the competition.

    There is no special trick for Opel, Peugeot, Fiat and the rest to catch up. Just make better cars.

    • 0 avatar

      This guy has it ^^^ – VW is an triumph of marketing.

      It’s a near luxury brand that is middle to upper priced and out of all the brands out there, is close to the Apple brand as possible (lets discount Porsche and BMW since they are priced out for most people).

      VW has got reliability question marks and that spills into electrics, DSG and servicing issues HOWEVER people will overlook that if the product is desirable enough.

      Forget about making better cars. Make cars that people want. If people want the car badly enough they will overlook QA issues.

      If I was rich enough I’d drive Jaguar Land Rover. I know they are full of English electric blue smoke. That doesn’t matter if you can afford them. Same with VW.

      • 0 avatar

        “Make cars that people want.”

        That pretty much sums it up. If you can’t do that, you won’t be able to compete at the top level, and are doomed with peddling your wares through discounts and rebates.

  • avatar

    I suspect a lot of “European” companies will start to merge to increase volumes. Renault/ Nissan and Fiat/ Chrysler anyone?

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    Sounds like a simple case of a successful company dominating in the marketplace. Those who can figure out the market get bigger market share. And a “brutal price war?” That sounds great for the consumer. It’s just a capitalist free market system at work.

    Oh wait, this is Europe we’re talking about…

    • 0 avatar

      Which is an open market now, the EU does not allow for tariffs and the Euro does not allow for currency manipulation (shadow tariffs). The other companies did it to themselves (renault, PSA and Fiat all built inferior products, retreated from the world market (at the time the US) and survived by the captive (currency manipulation and tariffs) markets of thier home countries which allowed for them to survive. Opel is just a piece of of GM’s 40 year demise, a company that at one point had 40% of the post WWII euro market and because of the deterioration US market and and Roger Smith’s $80 billion disaster, investment wasn’t made and like the US was allowed to goto waste (As Opel was being allowed to degenerate in the early-mid 80’s, Ford’s Europe operations is what allowed it to survive until the aero/taurus turn-around took place). It’s going to be hard for anyone to prove that VW is price dumping, they are manufacturing in Germany with some of the most expensive workers in the world and yet at the same time last year made more than the other 9 largest autommakers combined. Ford of Europe is healthy, it’s products are as good as anyones, the technology is transferrable to the rest of thier world-wide operations and with thier current 9-10% market-share they will make/lose a few $100 million for some years as the others slowly die, all they need is the 10% of those dying companies customers to come their way. That’s why I suggest they close a factory and do so in such a generous way that the others will not be able to match without sacrificing something else significant (product development, quality, factory upgrades, etc., I mean I bet for renault or PSA closing a factory in France would be alot of fun, same for Fiat and Italy)

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        Thanks for elaborating for me.

        “The other companies did it to themselves (renault, PSA and Fiat all built inferior products, retreated from the world market (at the time the US) and survived by the captive (currency manipulation and tariffs) markets of thier home countries which allowed for them to survive.”

        Agreed. I have no tears to shed for the companies that really can’t compete.

      • 0 avatar

        That currency manipulation topic has been coming up repeatedly lately. Could someone please elaborate on who, when, and most of all, how?

      • 0 avatar

        Bertel, am referring to the point between the period when fixed exchange rates ended and the the Euro implementation. To much debt, print more money, uncompetitive labor rates and laws, print more money, make money worth less thereby making in house goods price advantaged.

        The exact opposite is England, which out of pride refused to allow it’s currency to devaluate out of pride (both after WWI and II and instead continued (tried) to rely on the colonial system (we take raw materials at below market rates and sale you crap above market rates), when that system began (quickly) dying in the 60’s what happened to UK manufacturing?

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    RNC, you summed it up well. The rise and fall of Opel in particular is a sad story. Opel goes back to 1862.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    It’s real simple for the European car makers: Sell in the US or die. VW has been selling mass market cars for decades. I’m old enough to remember when the BMW dealer in Indy was in a glorified pole barn, now they sponsor cars in the Indy 500. Mercedes was in that position too; 40 years ago, great but seldom seen European cars. Peugeot and Renault threw in the towel and left the US market. Chrysler got pimped to Fiat and Fiat still doesn’t have a huge dealer network. JLR, Bentley, and RR have been doing business here for decades. I’m sure I haven’t listed some small European brands that were sold here and then left.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, it could be argued that VW’s lack of traction in the US saved them from the pain of 2008-2009 when Toyota and GM got hammered, which allowed them to confidently continue investment plans that are paying off

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • EBFlex: 6/21/business/gas-tax-holiday- biden/index.html
  • EBFlex: You realize when you call me comrade you’re calling yourself comrade right? Sit down son.
  • Jeff S: Comrade EBFlex who can even politicize a simple discussion of what to have for dinner.
  • Jeff S: @DenverMike–Didn’t think EBFlex liked vehicles I just thought he was some political hack...
  • bullnuke: UPDATE: The incident referred to by Ol Shel occurred in in a Chicago, Illinois, suburb. The 2nd Amendment...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber