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With a shortage of supply across the industry, demand remains high, especially for well-equipped vehicles, CFO Arno Antlitz told Reuters news agency in Munich on Wednesday. As interest rates rise and a possible economic slowdown, however, competition will increase significantly. “The prices of raw materials will make our production more expensive, but the price increases will not be easily applicable.”
Volkswagen must therefore focus even more on reducing costs, also in order to compensate, among other things, for the price increases of raw materials. Antlitz was a little more reserved than CEO Herbert Diess. He pointed out on Tuesday that the bottleneck in electronics that had lasted for many months was finally easing. “We are increasing our volumes, not only in Germany, but especially in China.” However, given the uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine and concerns over an economic crisis, the group will again be cautiously increasing production. In the speech to the staff he did not mention additional savings.
In light of the compromise reached by EU member states for new climate-neutral cars, Volkswagen management considers the transition to electromobility irreversible. Antlitz pointed out at a Reuters event in Munich that the focus now needs to be on battery-powered vehicles. The biggest challenge is creating supply chains for batteries. A possible end of combustion engines in Europe is an ambitious goal. However, Volkswagen believes it is doable. “The biggest problem is not the increase in car factories. The biggest problem will be the increase in the battery supply chain.” Volkswagen wants to build six battery cell factories in Europe alone in the coming years.
As for the planned IPO of the Porsche sports car subsidiary, Antlitz was once again optimistic that it could be completed as planned in the final quarter. There is still a lot of investor interest in an IPO and the capital is available. “All the reasons why we should pursue this project are still there.”
Audi lays the foundation stone for the electric car plant in China
Audi has laid the groundwork for a new car factory in the northern Chinese metropolis of Changchun. From 2024, 3,000 employees will build up to 150,000 electric cars per year for the Chinese market based on the luxury DPI platform developed with Porsche. CEO Markus Duesmann, who is also in charge of the business in China, said Wednesday that with the new cooperation firm Audi FAW NEV Company, Audi is bringing the DPI platform to China and producing market-specific electronic models locally.
The new factory is larger than the Neckarsulm Audi factory. In addition to the printing, bodywork, painting and vehicle assembly workshop, there will also be battery assembly. After the completion of the plant, three models of the Audi A6 e-tron and Audi Q6 e-tron series will initially be produced on the basis of the PPE platform. Only in China does Audi keep petrol engine construction open after 2033.
Audi FAW NEV is the first Audi majority cooperative enterprise in China. The Volkswagen subsidiary is investing 2.6 billion euros in the project. The construction site is reproduced in detail with a 3D scan in a virtual environment: “A novelty in the Volkswagen Group. In this way, the Ingolstadt design staff can accurately follow the progress of the works despite the great distance,” he said. Audi.
Audi has been producing models for the Chinese market since 1988 at the FAW Volkswagen plants in Changchun and from this year also at SAIC Volkswagen in Shanghai. Last year, Audi built around 606,000 cars in Changchun and sold 701,000 cars in the People’s Republic. Audi has delivered nearly 1.7 million cars worldwide.
Gas cylinders can burst: VW recalls 21,000 Tourans
As parts of the tank can rust and, in the worst case, burst, Volkswagen brings around 21,000 natural gas-powered Touran models to the workshop as a precaution. According to data from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), safety-related tests in Germany cover just over 8,300 seven-seater vehicles. According to VW information on Wednesday, unnoticed corrosion can occur on the rear of two of the four gas cylinders in individual cars, which cannot be seen from the outside during routine checks, with long-term weakening of the material and “in the worst case “sudden escape of the CNG mixture
Therefore, the affected cars should be intensively scrutinized, he said in Wolfsburg. The problem was found during “thorough quality checks” and was now being written to the owners.
In April, a Touran driver in the East Frisian town of Wittmund suffered burns to his legs when gaseous fuel suddenly leaked from a storage tank while being refueled. The cars would now be closely inspected and the gas cylinders would be temporarily deactivated or replaced if necessary. These are CNG variants of the Touran from model year 2006 and between 2010 and 2015.
This is not the first time that there are problems with the tanks or cylinders in VW natural gas models. A previous swap campaign was also carried out for the corresponding editions of the Passat and Caddy, where the wall thickness could drop below a critical level due to rust. In Duderstadt, Lower Saxony, a bottle exploded in 2016 and seriously injured the driver. Several groups of gas stations have therefore recommended that their stations temporarily stop selling natural gas.
At the end of XETRA trading on Wednesday, VW shares fell 4.52% to EUR 134.46.
Munich (Reuters) / INGOLSTADT (dpa-AFX)
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