VW Sets Goal of Being Largest Auto Company in World
According to an article in Automotive News earlier today, its wholly-owned German publication, Automobilwoche, has obtained internal Volkswagen documents that lay out VW’s goal of overtaking both Toyota and GM in volume in the next ten years and thereby becoming the world’s largest auto maker.
The plan is named “Strategy 2018”, and one of the cornerstones of the plan is double the amount of vehicles VW currently exports to the U.S. VW currently exports approximately 397,500 vehicles to the U.S. annually.
VW also plans to develop vehicles specifically for the U.S., citing the fact that they currently sell vehicles here with some features that have little or no value to Americans, thus driving up the price of those vehicles needlessly. The document also mentions that VW should have a “Plan B” in terms of additional North American production in the U.S. since the Pueblo, Mexico plant is currently running at capacity and the dollar continues to get battered by the euro in the currency markets. Their target locations are, where else, in the Southeastern United States, where there is a non-union workforce and BMW and Mercedes-Benz already have plants and a mature supplier network.
A mere six months ago VW was saying that they would double their sales in the U.S. by 2011, and we commented then that we just couldn’t see that happening with the lineup they had and the future short-term lineup they had revealed at that point. Now, the plan has the additional requirement of growing the ability of the U.S. market to absorb twice as many imported units from Volkswagen while meeting their overall volume goals, as well as perhaps simultaneously coordinating the launch of a new production facility in-country.
That’s a pretty big hill for VW to climb.
Of course, its worth noting that it’s not just the U.S. that is supposed to carry the load for Volkswagen’s ambitious plans – it is no secret that VW also plans to aggressively increase the amount of vehicles it sells in developing countries, whether those vehicles are produced locally or exported from a VW plant somewhere else. But the plan there is a bit more solid in terms of attainability. Demand is growing exponentially in those countries.
Demand in the U.S. is not growing even a little bit, everyone has too much capacity, General Motors is showing new signs of aggressive life in their home market, the Japanese all look pretty damn strong, the Koreans are expanding their offerings, the Chinese will be here soon and so will the Indians.
One must assume that Volkswagen must be feeling awfully confident.
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