Volkswagen Takes Silver In Quarterly Sales Amid Lingering Leadership Battle

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
volkswagen takes silver in quarterly sales amid lingering leadership battle

While the dust-up between chairman Ferdinand Piëch and CEO Martin Winterkorn lingers on, Volkswagen looks to take silver on the global sales podium in 2015.

Amid reports from German press agency dpa regarding Piëch’s desire to replace Winterkorn with either Porsche’s Matthias Mueller or Skoda’s Winfried Vahland prior to VW’s annual shareholder meeting early next month, the chairman denied the allegations to German newspaper Bild, Automotive News Europe reports.

Piëch said he had agreed to support Winterkorn following a meeting with board members in Austria last week. However, broadcasting network NDR says the chairman doesn’t feel bound by the agreement, and is seeking support from the Porsche and Piëch families to oust the CEO. The two families hold 50.7 percent of VW voting rights, a factor that could sway the state of Lower Saxony and German unions to vote in favor of Piëch’s chosen champion for the role. Both groups, though, stand firm behind Winterkorn and the board’s decision.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is closing in on its immediate goal of becoming the second largest automaker in the world by the end of 2015. According to AutoGuide, the automaker sold 2.49 million units from its family of brands between January and March 2015, edging out General Motors for the second spot on the sales podium by 70,000 units; Toyota retains the gold for now. The figure is also a 1.8-percent improvement compared to 2014.

[Photo credit: Volkswagen]

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  • Goacom Goacom on Apr 23, 2015

    Piech is absolutely correct in rocking the boat. VW has been "coasting" for a few years now. VW's strategy in the US is confused and ill timed. While the rest of the market was moving up (the Honda Civic was an exception) VW started offering cheapo, non premium cars here. While the cheaper cars did sell more than their prior models, the impact on profitability and image is questionable. It has also totally missed the SUV market (though I had them). Globally, VW's overall margins have dropped, though one should say that much of it could be related to the turmoil in Europe. If one looks at its other markets, one sees that it has become overly reliant for growth on China. Conversely, it has failed to make any impact in new markets like India. If one looks like Audi, its products have become way me too. Their once famed interiors are no longer the standouts they once were relative to its competitors, while its external design aesthetic has become quite tired. Technologically, many feel that BMW has leapfrogged it with its carbon fiber and electric technologies. So yes, all in all, I think it is time for a shakeup at VW.

  • Romismak Romismak on Apr 23, 2015

    1st quarter results are just what i expected - neck to neck battle between Toyota and VW - GM is loosing some ground thanks to their Europe decisions - Chevrolet pull out of EUR + now out of Russia most of GM mainstream vehicles. Toyota and VW i think will stay super close for rest of the year, we can already see some interresting developments in certain markets - regions NAFTA - is doing again great - so great for Toyota South AMerica - it´s horrible, last year was bad but this year starts even worse, VW is much bigger in Brazil so they feel it, while Toyota actually improoved in BRAZ in Q1 sales year on year - ARG - also bad market conditions, but VW actually is doing fine there. EUR - surprisingly recovering very quickly - good for VW group and all their brands. Russia - disaster - overall for both groups, but GM bleeds here much more with their Russia decisions Japan - last year´s inflated numbers are going back to normal, but still not such drasticall decline in Japan that i expected. China - both automakers ended up basically at ZERO growth in Q1 - for VW this means they ended up 2nd for Q1, otherwise if they added their usual 100k units + year on year for China, they would be No.1 - let´s see how next few months will look like, chinese brands were doing much better than anticipated in Q1, taking share back from foreign brands - mostly german and japanese brands. Indonesia - very bad Q1 - bad for Toyota-Daihatsu sales there Thailand - still declining market but i think they hit the bottom and situation is going to change there in next few months - other SE Asian countries were doing fine - PHI, TAI - were Toyota has huge share So overall Toyota was bleeding in Japan, Indonesia and Thailand - 3 of their biggest markets, while added some relevant numbers only in the US so they ended up Q1 selling less than last year VW group surprisingy ended up Q1 in China at basically 0% growth - comparing to their usual - 10-20% growth, EUR is doing fine, but South America and Russia are in bad shape so VW ended up in small growth instead of bigger improovements if China was at ,,normal,, levels and BRAZ-RUS weren´t looking like they are right now

  • Wmba Wmba on Apr 24, 2015

    Cameron, time to wake up. VW has been #2 globally since 2013. "Meanwhile, Volkswagen is closing in on its immediate goal of becoming the second largest automaker in the world by the end of 2015." Closing in? When they're already there for two calendar years? Autoguide is the dimwitted cousin of TTAC under Vertical Scope and not worth reading.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Apr 24, 2015

    I've decided that I think they could sell the Up (Exclamation Point) here if they tried. It's targeted right at the Fiesta customer, and is the same size as the original Golf that everybody enjoyed. But maybe they figure the 15,000 extra sales would mean 9,000 sales subtracted from the Golf.