Automotive research, Automotive strategy, Automotive trends, Auto industry trends, Automotive market research, Auto industry news, self-driving vehicles, driverless vehicles, ride hailing, on-demand mobility

VW Group

Volkswagen Group is a German OEM that sells cars and commercial vehicles under a multitude of brands such as: Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, ŠKODA, Bentley, Lamborghini, MAN trucks, Scania, Bugatti.

It also has extensive non-vehicle holdings including a suasage factory. a football club and the Ducati motorcycle brand.

This page contains research on VW's activities and strategy.

Automotive Research -- Where to find their official news and financial results...

Below are the details for the investor relations and media sites for Volkswagen (several brands have their own investor relations activities).

Automotive research, Automotive strategy, Automotive trends, Auto industry trends, Automotive market research, Auto industry news

VOLKSWAGEN (VW) GROUP IN THE NEWS

This information can also be found on the weekly news review.

December

  • Will reportedly create a new brand in China with joint venture partner JAC Motors with a portfolio made-up of re-badged SEAT vehicles. As part of the plan, some models may launch in China before traditional markets, including SEAT’s first electric vehicle. (Autofactil)
  • Porsche sources told a reporter at a recent test that the Mission E all-electric sports car will have three power levels: 300 kW, 400 kW and 500kW, with the higher power levels delivered through upgraded rear wheel drive units. The target starting price was said to be $75,000 - $80,000 with an annual sales goal of 30,000 units. (Automobile)
  • The German constitutional court ruled against VW’s attempts to stop a special auditor appointed by shareholders from looking into the diesel scandal. (Der Spiegel)
  • Confirmed that the VW brand manufactured more than 6 million units in 2017, setting a new record and marking a return to form following the diesel scandal. (VW)
  • Porsche executives said that sales of the Panamera hybrid were such a success that the model could soon become constrained by battery supply. (Euro News)
  • US regulators gave approval to the fix for Audi 3.0 litre diesel vehicles. (Reuters)
  • Audi is recalling almost 1.3 million vehicles due to risk of fire. (Autocar). Separately, Audi is recalling 52,000 vehicles to fix fuel lines that may leak. (Detroit Free Press)
  • The 3rd party inspector appointed after the US emissions scandal has said changing VW’s culture will be a “three year marathon” and that it was still unclear why the company had chosen to defy the testing regime rather than comply with it. (Manager Magazin)
  • Bugatti said that it has 300 orders for the Chiron model and delivered 70 vehicles in 2017. (Europa Press)
  • The chairman of Porsche’s works council called for emails sent after work hours or when employees were on vacation to be blocked and deleted. (Handelsblatt)
  • CEO Müller said that he believes the company must conduct greater political lobbying on transport issues, regardless of whether the position it advocates is popular. (Handelsblatt)
  • German dealers expressed unease at several of the points in VW’s proposed new contract, concerned that VW is attempting to ring-fence customer support so as to cut dealers out in future. (Autohaus)
  • Guaranteed the future of its Dresden “transparent factory” until 2025 and increased e-Golf production from 30 units per day to 70. (Handelsblatt)
  • Came under fire from German politicians after the CEO publicly suggested that the country should end the lower tax rate on diesel fuel compared to gasoline. (Manager Magazin)
  • Published the findings of a report into the activities of VW employees in Brazil during the military dictatorship. Evidence was found of employees cooperating with the regime, but not of systematic action by the company. (VW)
  • Said that declining diesel sales and residual values in Europe were not significantly affecting the performance of its captive finance arm. (Handelsblatt)
  • Executives said that one of the first BEVs for Audi will be a sports car that launches in 2020. (Autocar)
  • Audi’s CEO said that the company would not sell motorbike subsidiary Ducati because it is the “perfect implementation of our premium philosophy in the world of motorbikes”. (Detroit Bureau)
  • Announced that Škoda would install a new paintshop at its Mladá Boleslav plant that will increase capacity to 2,700 cars per day from June 2019. (VW)
  • Launched a connected vehicles brand called RIO for MAN and Scania vehicles to supply telematics data to operators. RIO will operate a freemium model with a service called RIO Essentials on all vehicles. (VW)
  • Audi said that it had developed a system that could create a 3D awareness of the surrounding area using a mono camera and a set of neural network algorithms. The system operates at 15 fps, so will have large gaps in its situational awareness at higher speeds -- e.g 0.9m between frames at 30mph -- nevertheless it could have immediate application in low speed situations such as parking garages. (Audi)
  • VW’s inhouse mobility start-up Moia said it had created a purpose built vehicle for on-demand ride hailing The company plans to launch services in Hamburg at the end of 2018. The vehicle itself is fully-electric with a claimed range of 300km and space for six. It was created by VW’s commercial vehicles group. (VW)
  • According to Porsche executives, around 60 percent of Panamera models sold in Europe were hybrid versions. In some markets, the number is as high as 90 percent. The company is already working on derivatives of the Mission E to increase its all-electric portfolio. (Electrek)
  • Reportedly issued a stop-ship on T6 vans because of excessive emissions that the company has detected, and has yet to explain. (Reuters)
  • Lamborghini launched the Urus “super SUV”. To ensure it is “suitable for everyday driving”, the company equipped their latest model with a 650hp V8, rear wheel steering and a $200,000 price tag. (Lamborghini)

November

  • Reportedly in discussions to purchase a stake in Russian manufacturer GAZ. (Economic Times of India)
  • In talks with Chinese manufacturer JAC to deepen an existing relationship developing electric cars. The two companies are interested in making commercial vehicles together. (Automotive Manufacturing Solutions)
  • Audi has agreed a new employment guarantee that lasts until 2025 with unions. (Handelsblatt)
  • Audi launched a new facility for dealerships that allows a customer to quickly drop off vehicles for servicing without having to wait around for a receptionist. (Audi)
  • Seat is rolling out a new online ordering system where a buyer can specify a vehicle and then choose a dealership to collect from within 3 weeks. It says that so far the technology has been trialled in Austria with 300 units sold. (Europa Press)
  • Seat told employees that in the event of Catalonian independence it would probably close the Martorell factory because the region would be outside the EU. (Faconauto)
  • Union representatives from VW’s Works Council held meetings with investors in London and appeared to indicate a willingness to support an arms-length relationship, and even possibly a spin-off, provided that it was in the best interests of the company and the employees. (Bloomberg)
  • Will add a new model in South American markets called the Virtus, a small sedan. Between investments in Argentina and Brazil, the company says it is spending around €2.4 billion on new products that will launch before 2020. (VW)
  • German officials raided the offices of several VW executives. The issue under investigation is reportedly the nature of payments made to works council head Bernd Osterloh. (Der Spiegel)
  • Announced VAG spending targets for the period 2018 to 2022. The company will spend more than 34 billion on new technologies and is aiming for capex and R&D each to be 6.0% of revenue from 2020 onwards -- an amount that the company calls “competitive” (they might want to check Carlos Tavares’s opinion). (VW)
  • Will move production of Golf from Zwickau to Wolfsburg and Passat production from Zwickau to Emden. Zwickau will then become a “pure e-mobility facility”, building the ID and other derivative products. (VW)
  • Issued an update on the Future Pact saying that 94% of the 2020 voluntary redundancy target (9,200 positions) had been met. The company will continue to reduce jobs in “working areas which are not viable for the future”. (VW)
  • Seat and Telefonica will collaborate on the application of 5G in connected cars and are working on pilot projects to use blockchain in Seat’s operations. (Telecom paper)
  • Lamborghini unveiled a concept for an all-electric supercar and said that it was working on super capacitors to overcome weight problems with batteries. (Autocar)
  • Audi is working with two partners on a trial to produce diesel using hydropower. The result is being branded as an “e-fuel” with a view to convincing consumers that it is an environmentally friendly alternative to electric vehicles. (Autocar)
  • Said that VW’s IT department will collaborate with Google to apply quantum computing in the company’s processes, with a view to reducing calculation times. (VW)
  • Will produce a new SUV at its Pacheco, Argentina plant starting in 2020. The €560 million investment is forecast to create 2,500 jobs. (VW)
  • VW’s CEO mused that making an all-electric vehicle would allow a product that was close to the philosophical routes of the original. (Autocar)
  • The head of Volkswagen’s UK finance arm said that the company was working towards a full banking licence in the UK, which would help it raise funding in the same place as it issued loans. (Economic Times of India)
  • Audi said that it would recall about 5,000 A8 vehicles to update their emissions software. (VW)
  • Lamborghini will reportedly use a solid-state battery to create a plug-in hybrid version of the successor to the Huracán, to be introduced in 2022. (Autocar)

Q3 Financials (October)

  • Reported 2017 Q3 group sales of 2.65 million units, up 6.3% on a year-over-year basis. Sales were up across regions but sales within Germany dropped (3.9)%. YTD sales of 7.803 million units are up 2.5% YoY. (VW)
  • Reported Q3 financial results. Revenue of €55.0 billion was up 5.8% on a year-over-year basis. Operating profit of €4.3 billion was up 15.1%. The group raised its year-end profit outlook. (VW)

October

  • Had offices raided by EU officials investigating whether Daimler, VW and BMW created a cartel in powertrain technologies and purchasing. (Reuters)
  • Received regulatory approval for its proposal to rectify emissions problems in some of the US vehicles with 3.0L engines, avoiding a buyback. (VW)
  • Is facing a 6% pay rise demand from German unions. (Reuters)
  • CEO Müller, speaking at a conference, expressed frustration at the level of admiration for Elon Musk and Tesla. (Daily Kanban)
  • Audi launched a used car sales portal in Germany, following a successful pilot scheme. Customers can order from the combined dealer stock and then have the vehicle delivered to their local dealer for collection, regardless of the source. The website also enables real-time financing quotes. (Audi)
  • Volkswagen Financial Services launched a service called HeyCar, a pan-brand used vehicle portal. (VW)
  • Seat has abandoned plans to enter the Iranian market and will instead focus on untapped areas of growth in Europe. (Europa Press)
  • Škoda has pushed back plans for a US expansion in order to focus resources on low cost small cars. (Autocar)
  • The Audi works council demanded that the company give job guarantees to 2025 to ensure that employees could contribute constructively to the technological change facing the industry. (Handelsblatt)
  • VW’s chief digital officer said in an interview that the company saw five elements in the autonomous mobility value chain: the vehicle manufacturer; the self-driving system designer; the fleet owner / operator; the mobility service provider and then providers of additional digital services (including advertising). He said that the company believes that a robo taxi will pay for itself “within months”, describing on-demand mobility as “super profitable” and saying the company wanted to operate “all five levels” of the mobility system. (Manager Magazin)
  • Is planning to reduce the size of its 3,000-strong European dealer network as it tries to improve dealer and company profitability. It is developing an online sales platform in partnership with its dealers. (Economic Times of India)
  • Has ended Scirocco production, although unsold finished vehicles remain in inventory. (Auto Blog)
  • Group CEO Müller said in an interview that electric cars “may not be as profitable as combustion models” in the next generation but the company believes there will be “a tipping point between the two in five to seven years, which will help balance our revenues”. He also said that the first step for driverless vehicles will be “taxis and parcel delivery in urban areas, where speeds are low”. (Autocar)
  • Porsche launched a pilot scheme in Atlanta, USA called Porsche Passport that provides monthly subscription to SUVs and sports cars. Participants can choose from two levels -- a $2,000 monthly subscription gives access to the lower end of the model range; for $3,000 per month the expanded line-up includes 911 and Panamera. Subscription appears to allow a certain number of vehicle swaps and includes all costs except fuel and parking. (Porsche)
  • The head of the Skoda brand rejected suggestions that jobs in the Czech Republic were at risk saying that the company was operating near capacity and intended to recruit more employees soon. (Reuters)
  • Škoda unions threatened to work to rule by foregoing overtime over concerns that German unions and managers were trying to source work to German plants and damage the competitiveness of the brand. (Reuters)
  • SEAT suffered production losses due to protests in Catalonia. (Reuters)
  • Spy shots of the Porsche Mission E emerged as company executives hypothesised how they might develop their own range of over the air updates, similar to Tesla’s offering, with power upgrades among the options being considered. (Autocar)
  • Reportedly looking to partner with Chinese battery maker CATL for BEVs in the Chinese market. (Green Car Reports)

September

  • Announced that it would take an additional one-time charge of €(2.5) billion in its Q3 results to increase the provision for repair of diesel vehicles in the US. The program is apparently “more technically challenging and time-consuming” than expected. (VW)
  • Audi’s CEO said that the company would soon build all-electric cars outside Germany, citing Hungary and Mexico as specific examples. (Elektrek)
  • Launched a program in the US called “People First” that sees all VW vehicles receive a transferrable 6 year warranty (8 years in the case of the eGolf). (Detroit Free Press)
  • VW’s sales manager for Germany said in an interview that the company needed to consolidate its dealer network more quickly and offer additional digital services to enhance the customer experience. (Handelsblatt)
  • VW is making changes to its distribution in Europe and will increase the capacity of its Emderhafen facility to 70,000 vehicles (from 60,000). The company intends to transport fewer cars by road, instead preferring train (faster) and ship (slower). (de)
  • Lamborghini’s R&D head said that the company would be “the last brand” to offer autonomy. This represents a departure from the thinking of some other luxury sports car makers who see autonomy as a selling point because it can teach owners how to drive their cars better. (Digital Trends)
  • VW is trialling a service with 300 customers in Berlin where deliveries from DHL can be placed into the boot of the car while it is parked, ready for the owner to collect at a later date. (VW)
  • VW’s director of development appeared to suggest that the company will unveil an all-electric Phaeton replacement at the Geneva 2018 show. (Motoring)
  • Confirmed that Bentley will offer a Level 3 capable vehicle from 2019 onwards, starting with either the Continental or the next generation of the Flying Spur. The technology suite will be a variant of that launched on the Audi A8. (More)
  • Suffered production disruption at Audi and VW plants, including cancelled shifts, as a result of the earthquake in Mexico. (Manager Magazin)
  • Said in an in-house magazine article that it was intending to build functionality into the MEB platform that would enable cars to be upgraded after the first ownership cycle. The company intends to apply the same thinking to MQB-based products “gradually”. (VW)
  • Announced a plan to bring 80 new electrified (not full electric = 50 BEV, 30 PHEV) vehicles to market by 2025 and that by 2030 the entire VW Group product portfolio (~300 nameplates) would be electrified. The company said that this would require €20 billion in investment and that it would need suppliers to provide 150 GWh of battery capacity by 2025 -- forecasting its first phase procurement bill at €50 billion (the figure looks too high for an annual bill). (VW)
  • Said that of the 50 new fully electric vehicles by 2025, 23 of them will be for the VW brand. At Frankfurt, the company showed the ID Crozz, a small crossover/SUV that it said will be launched in 2020, around the same time as the ID C-Car (mini-bus to follow in 2022). The performance specifications for the I.D. Crozz are: 225 kW motor, 180 kmh top speed and 500 km range. VW mentioned that fast charging would get the battery to 80% of capacity in 30 minutes, implying that it is a lower-rated onboard charger than will debut in the Mission E from Porsche. (VW)
  • Said that it would be putting autonomous cars on the streets in 2021. (VW)
  • Audi’s Aicon autonomous vehicle concept pointed towards long-distance driverless travel, with a claimed ability to travel at high speeds and a range of over 700km. Audi majored on the contrast with robo taxis which are “reduced to pure functionality” -- an interesting statement of fact, given that no robo taxis exist! (Audi)
  • A spokesman for the Porsche and Piech families waded into the debate about selling off parts of the group saying he saw “no need” for the separation and that the topic had not been discussed at the supervisory board. (Der Spiegel)
  • Bentley executives said that they are planning an all-electric, possibly launching in 2019. (Autocar)
  • Porsche’s Chairman said that the Mission E all-electric sports car would be priced at about the same level as a Panamera, although since it will be offered in different power levels this might only be true for the entry level. (Car)
  • Lamborghini executives said that they aren’t yet planning all-electric vehicles, although they are working on hybrid electric powertrain. Note that Lamborghini have previously been rumoured to be working on an all-electric product and Bentley and Audi both seem set to release electric sports cars based on the Mission E platform, so Lamborghini would be the only stablemate not to follow suit. (Reuters)
  • VAG’s CEO said that the company was working on the sale of businesses accounting for 20% of the group’s revenue. (Manager Magazin)
  • The leader of the CDU in Lower Saxony (the German region where VW are based, that also has seats on the board) called for next VW Group CEO to be from outside the automotive industry. The CDU is currently ahead in polls with the state election due in October. (Reuters)
  • Will develop mobility services with IBM under a five year cooperation agreement. (VW)
  • Audi is reportedly having problems getting its L3 Traffic Jam Pilot system approved by European regulators (CCFA)
  • Audi will display two concepts at Frankfurt: the first will be a “highly automated” L4 car featuring technologies that will allow the driver to sometimes give control to the vehicle in fully automatic mode; the second will be a L5 car designed primarily for long journeys. (Audi)

August

  • Unveiled the new Polo -- the sixth generation of the B-size vehicle to go on sale. The MQB-based car will feature safety technologies such as adaptive cruise control (as an option). Petrol engines now feature cylinder deactivation and diesel engines will be fitted with urea exhaust treatment. (VW)
  • Porsche said that it would begin equipping cars with InnoDrive, a system that uses mapping and weather data to adjust vehicle settings such as suspension and engine mapping in order to optimise it for local road conditions in real time. (USA Today)
  • Will recall over 280,000 Passat and CC vehicles in the USA due to problems with the fuel pump. (CCFA)
  • As widely predicted in the German press, Audi announced a raft of new appointments to its managing board to make changes to “finance, IT and integrity, marketing and sales, human resources and production and logistics” (i.e. everything operational except product development and the CEO). (Audi)
  • Audi will partner with Chinese firm Hanergy to create panoramic roofs than contain solar cells to extend the range of vehicles. (Audi)
  • VW showed off the new T-Roc, a design-led compact SUV. Unlike Nissan and Renault, VW has engineered all-wheel drive into the model, which may reduce its cost competitiveness. (VW)
  • Audi announced a change to the way its models will be badged in future. They will now carry a two digit figure after the model name to signify the engine’s power level. 30 will be the lowest power level and 70 will be the highest. (Audi)
  • Announced that it would put an all-electric microbus, modelled after the ID Buzz concept, into serial production by 2022 (VW)
  • Highlighted in an in-house magazine article how it was reducing costs on its Indian products, in particular by changing material specifications because Indian suppliers cannot provide the same range as VW’s traditional European supply base. Although this increases regional complexity, VW believes it leads to reduced costs. (VW)
  • Announced group sales in July of 820,900 units globally, up 4.3% on a year-over-year basis. (VW)
  • In an interview for VW’s in-house magazine, VW brand CEO Herbert Diess said that the company had a productivity gap to Toyota and Hyundai and needed to acknowledge that Tesla’s capabilities stretched beyond electric powertrain and into areas such as autonomous driving, connectivity and distribution -- in particular he admired Tesla’s 50% mix of software engineers saying VW’s capability was “far too small”. Diess also revealed that he wears a tie for important meetings but finds it pleasant to do without one in summer months. (VW)
  • VW is over-achieving its cost reduction targets and will save an additional €500 million in 2017 versus prior expectations, according to the works council leader. He also said that he wanted more models assigned to German plants because it was “crucial” for the company’s success, and delivery of the “Future Pact” labour agreement to have high capacity utilisation in Germany, threatening to hold-up approval of longer term spending plans if new models were not planned for German factories. (Reuters)
  • Saw politicians from both the Green and Free Democrats advocate a sell-off of (German region) Lower Saxony’s shareholding in the company, arguing that the stake neither protected jobs nor improved corporate governance. The CDU said that they would retain the stake but change the nature of board representation. (Handelsblatt)
  • Tata announced that, following in-depth discussions with Škoda, it would not create a partnership in small vehicles because “the envisioned areas of partnership may not yield the desired synergies are originally assessed”. Tata said that the two parties would “keep in touch”. (Tata)
  • SEAT are reportedly contemplating launching Cupra as a standalone brand. (Autofactil)
  • Following the diesel summit, VW announced that it would offer a EU1 to EU4 trade in incentive on all VW Group models. (VW)

Q2 Earnings

  • Reported second quarter financial results, Operating profit including special items was €4.549 billion, an increase of 3.7% on a year-over-year basis. Cash flow was substantially reduced: operating activities contributed €1.2 billion in Q2 2017 versus €7.3 billion in the same period last year. (VW)

July

  • Said in response to cartel allegations that it was “quite common for car manufacturers all over the world to engage in an exchange on technical issues”. (VW)
  • Porsche recalled about 21,500 Cayenne vehicles after discovering “irregularities” in the engine control software (and because it was ordered to by the authorities). Porsche’s press release repeatedly referred to the extent of (German regulator) the KBA’s involvement. (Porsche)
  • VW Group CEO Müller said that the head of Porsche’s Works Council was being unhelpful after the latter blamed Audi’s management for emissions problems in Porsche vehicles and called for executives to be replaced. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche announced that it would join the Formula E racing series for open-wheeled electric cars from 2019, alongside existing OEM entrants Renault, BMW, Mahindra, PSA (DS brand), Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes (as of 2019) as well as start-ups Faraday Future and NextEV. (Golem)
  • VW Group CEO Müller said that the company would add an additional 1.5 million vehicles (to bring the total to 4 million) to its diesel recall and upgrade program in Europe following discussions with Germany’s environment minister. (RP Online)
  • Was allegedly part of a cartel of German car makers under investigation by the EU for possible collusion on technical regulations and component sourcing for items such as retractable roofs and emission control systems. The other participants were BMW and Daimler. According to media reports, VW may have partial immunity or relief from fines after coming forward as whistle-blowers. (More…)
  • Porsche said that it would decide on whether or not to create a new diesel architecture by the end of the decade. (More…)
  • Audi will recall 850,000 EU5 and EU6 diesel vehicles worldwide (mainly in Europe) to offer updated emissions software. Audi said that this would improve emissions beyond legal requirements. (More…)
  • According to media reports, Volkswagen is thinking of selling MAN’s stake in heavy truck transmission supplier Renk. Works Council representatives are strongly opposed. (More…)
  • Announced group sales for the first half of 5.2 million units, this represents an increase of 0.8% on a year-over-year basis. Sales are down for the Audi brand and China market. (More…)
  • German media outlets speculated that several members of Audi’s board will have to leave in relation to their involvement with the diesel scandal. The HR chief, head of production, CFO and head of sales were all mentioned as being at risk. (More…)
  • News about the sale of Ducati continued to leak, with the Benetton family emerging as possible suitors and a price tag of $1.4 billion being mentioned. (More…)
  • Audi unveiled the feature-packed next generation A8. The vehicle will include a traffic jam pilot that will control the vehicle at speeds up to 60 km/h on suitable highways. Audi indicate that the vehicle is capable of driving itself without human attention but stress that local laws may forbid this. Audi’s system users a single LIDAR unit positioned below the front number plate (see image). The overall sensor set contains a mix of cameras, radar, ultrasonic and LIDAR (see image). (More…)
  • Saw media reports misattribute VW executives with having claimed that 40 factories the size of Tesla’s Gigafactory battery making facility will be required by 2025. The 40 figure was derived by journalists taking VW’s own capacity estimate and multiplying it out by VW’s market share. VW have made a far higher assumption on 2025 industry mix than most other OEMs. (More…)
  • The head of the Audi works council criticised the company’s product plan and production guarantees around electric products in an internal meeting. (More…)
  • VW has made an investment in AutoGravity, a product that allows online comparison of financing products -- Daimler already involved in the company. (More…)
  • Saw 41,000 people join a class action lawsuit in the UK over reduced performance experienced in VW vehicles that have undergone the company’s emissions fix. The lawsuit says that whilst NOx performance has been improved, the vehicle driving experience, and running costs, have deteriorated. VW said that there was no systemic problem with the fix that they had applied. (More…)
  • Porsche installed its first 350 kW charging stations ahead of the Mission E launch The units are developed by Porsche themselves. (More…)
  • Said that the recall of vehicles to fix problems with the brakes had risen from 385,000 last week to 766,000 cars. (More…)
  • Reported to be the front-runner for the contract to be official sponsor of the German national team. The sponsorship is said to cost €25 to €30 million per year. Mercedes are the current sponsor. (More…)
  • Seats’s president said that the Spanish government should do more to encourage sales of electric vehicles in order to attract production of electric cars, noting that currently only electric commercial vehicles are produced in the country. He also noted that he was expecting a new generation of batteries to arrive in 2025 that would give a significant cost advantage. (More…)
  • Said that it will return to Iran with the VW brand. The company will partner with privately-held Mummut Khodro. At present, all vehicles will be imported. (More…)
  • Claims emerged in the German press that VW’s management had been informed of the likely costs of the diesel scandal over a month before any public announcements were made, calling into question whether the executive team acted in a suitably timely manner. (More…)
  • Will work with Third Space Auto on applications for artificial intelligence within the vehicle such as voice recognition and smartphone integration. (should have been in last week’s review). (More…)
  • VW Group held a mobility technology day where it outlined many of the projects it is working on around electrification and mobility. As well as the usual work on better drivetrain and sensors, VW highlighted work on infrastructure such as charging stations that automatically plug in to the car. (More…)
  • VW will partner with robotics supplier Kuka on applications that can help electric and autonomous vehicles, particularly around supporting services and infrastructure. (More…)
  • Porsche is said to be working on autonomous vehicle software designed for on-track application. The company has apparently retained the services of ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber to help them record circuit data that can then be downloaded to other cars and teach the owners how to drive faster. (More…)

June

  • Audi’s chief technical officer said in an interview that the company would be paying about €100 per kWh for batteries when it launches its new all-electric products later this decade. (More…)
  • Audi and MAN agreed with (German region) Bavaria’s government to improve the emissions of Stage 5 diesel cars through the use of new engine management software. This could be a template for agreement at a national level. (More…)
  • Saw ratings agency Fitch keep VW’s rating at BBB+ and revise the outlook upwards, to stable from negative. (More…)
  • Faced allegations that VW’s French arm had mis-reported sales and delivery figures for several years. The accusations would have affected the reporting of the timing of the sale. (More…)
  • Announced the creation of a deep learning data lab with Nvidia with a particular focus on mobility services. Memo: Audi announced their own deep learning activity a couple of weeks ago. (More…)
  • Will recall 385,000 cars in Germany to fix problems with anti-lock brakes. (More…)
  • Amid rumours of a deal to sell motorbike brand Ducati to Harley Davidson, the VW Works Council declared itself to be opposed, calling the relatively recently acquired (2012) company a “jewel”. It wasn’t clear whether this is because the Works Council perceives an unstated strategic advantage or because it is set against establishing a precedent that would allow other parts of the group to be sold off. The rumoured sale price of €1.5 billion would be almost double what Audi paid for the brand. (More…)
  • Employees at VW’s Slovakia plant went on strike. After six days of industrial action, the group reached agreement with the unions on way rises of 13.5% over two years plus a special bonus. (More…)
  • Announced that Audi will establish a deep-learning artificial intelligence centre at the University of Linz. Initial projects are centred on autonomous vehicles. (More…)
  • Audi announced that it will make its 2nd electric product -- the e-tron Sportback at its plant in Brussels with production starting in 2019. (More…)
  • Porsche is reportedly targeting for 50% of its sales to be electrified vehicles by 2023. (More…)
  • Arrest warrants have been issued for 5 former managers and developers in connection with the diesel scandal. (More…)
  • There were reports that Audi’s executive management team had been criticised in internal reports for being unprepared for the future and lacking in decisiveness and impetus for change. (More…)
  • Unveiled the next (6th) generation of its Polo B-sized car. The Polo will be available to customers around the end of 2017. (More…)
  • Employees in Slovakia intend to go on strike as of the 20th June due to a pay dispute. Union demands for a 16% pay rise have been rejected by VW. (..)
  • According to the European Commission, VW has agreed to give an additional two years warranty period to customers affected by the diesel emissions scandal but will not pay compensation. (More…)
  • South Korean newspapers reported that VW was going to sign a $6 billion battery supply deal with LG Chem. LG Chem did not deny that the companies were in discussion but said that no deal had been signed. (More…)
  • Showcased SEAT’s efforts to prepare its employees for “industry 4.0” technologies by developing a training program which it intends to roll out to all staff. (More…)
  • Has agreed an engine supply arrangement with GAZ. VW will supply 200,000 diesel engines between 2019 and 2024 from its Salzgitter plant. VW’s press release quoted Works Council representatives saying that the deal would “more than compensate” for production cuts stemming from the pact for the future turnaround plan. (More…)
  • The VW brand reported May deliveries of 513,000 vehicles, an increase of 3.5% year-over-year. (More…)
  • Said that it was on course to meet its target of 9,300 separations and that there was “considerable interest” from employees aged between 57 - 62. (..)
  • The US-appointed special inspector told reporters that he may not have received all the relevant documentation relating to the entire VW Group yet (he was unsure) and the scale of monitoring the company properly into the future may necessitate employing a total of 60 people (VW will have a liaison team of 50). (..)
  • Škoda’s international sales manager appeared to confirm that there will not be a replacement for the current generation of the Citigo city car. This is despite apparent plans for a new VW Up! (with which the Citigo shares much of its componentry). (..)
  • Der Spiegel suggested in an article that Porsche Cayenne models had been installed with defeat devices following tests it had commissioned. Porsche rejected the claims and said that the tests results were incomprehensible. (More…)
  • Current Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann will reportedly resign at the time of sale rather than stay with the company under PSA’s ownership -- VW are apparently a likely destination. (More…)
  • Audi will recall 24,000 cars in Europe to rectify software that causes excess emissions. Whilst it chose its language carefully, Audi’s statement did not rule out that some intentional manipulation of the original software may have taken place. Media reporting suggests that the software was programmed to operate in a lower emission condition when the steering angle was less than 15 degrees (indicating that the vehicle was on a test stand). (..)
  • German prosecutors are reportedly looking at whether Porsche vehicles are also affected by emissions cheating. (More…)
  • Vfl Wolfsburg, the German football team owned by VW, stayed in the top flight but will reportedly face severe cost cuts next season. (..)
  • There was media speculation that Audi CEO Rupert Stadler would be replaced before the end of his (recently renewed) contract, which runs to 2022. (More…)

May

  • Said that it had increased its goal for environmental impact reduction. Instead of the prior target of a 25% drop in key measures of pollution from 2010 levels, VW will now aim for 45% by 2025. (..)
  • CEO Mueller said that changing the company’s culture was proving tougher than expected. (..)
  • French media reported that in a worst-case scenario, the French judicial investigation in aggravated deception by VW in relation to the diesel scandal could result in fine of almost €20 billion. The same report concluded that the fine should be proportionate to the benefit of the fraud. (..)
  • VW has received formal approval for a joint venture with Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (JAC Motor) specialising in electric vehicles. This paves the way for a joint venture contract between the two. (..)
  • Announced the extension of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler’s contract for a further five years. Audi have also made integrity part of the CFO’s responsibilities. (..)
  • Audi announced that as part of a working group with city governments, the German standards institute and other companies it had developed a standardised set of terms for the city of the future called DIN 91340. (..)
  • Audi announced that it had agreed a new contract with its dealer body in China. A dispute had arisen with FAW-affiliated dealers about how vehicles from Audi’s new partnership with SAIC would be sold. The new agreement states that all Audi models (regardless of source) will be sold by the FAW dealers and remains unclear on how the relationship with SAIC will develop. (..)
  • The UK government refused a freedom of information request relating to talks it had held with Bentley over the way Brexit could impact the company’s investments in the UK. The government said that this was because it could weaken the UK’s negotiating position. (..)
  • Following on from media speculation last week, German authorities confirmed that they would investigate CEO Mueller and Chairman Potsch (relating to market manipulation at Porsche SE on the basis of not telling shareholders quickly enough about the extent of VW’s diesel scandal). (..)
  • VW’s joint venture in China with FAW will recall 577,590 vehicles because of a headlight fuse defect. (..)
  • CEO Mueller said that he was already in talks with the Board about his successor (his contract expires in 2020) and that the successful candidate was likely to come from within the company (More…)
  • Saw continued coverage of investor and media unhappiness at VW’s refusal to publish a final report into the diesel crisis based on the investigations of legal practice Jones Day into VW’s internal processes and documentation. VW say that no final report exists. (..)
  • Reported Group sales for April were down 1.4% year-over-year. Western Europe and Asia Pacific were down. North America as a whole was down by sales in the USA improved. Central and Eastern Europe and South America saw sales gains. The drop was primarily down to the VW and Audi brands where lost sales more than offset gains by Porsche and SEAT. (..)
  • CEO Mueller said at the AGM that VW was holding talks with battery suppliers in Europe and China and would disclose more details soon. (..)
  • Denied that the pay of Works Council member Bernd Osterloh was inappropriately high as it came under investigation from German prosecutors over the matter. Part of the explanation for his remuneration level of several hundred thousand euros each year was that Osterloh has turned down more lucrative job opportunities in order to remain a Works Council member. (..)
  • Reported to have ceased development of its 10-speed automatic and dual clutch transmissions. The explanation given was that this type of transmission was for more powerful engines and volume projections had shrunk. (..)
  • Media reports said that VW’s chief in France had resigned after conflicts with his management. (..)
  • US regulator the National Labor Relations Board has filed an unfair labor practices complaint against VW relating to treatment of employees at its Tennessee plant. The complaint alleges that VW penalised health insurance premiums and shift patterns of workers who supported union recognition. (..)
  • Saw reports that the Chairman and CEO may be under-investigate for market manipulation by not reporting the diesel crisis quickly enough. The allegation is that they should have told Porsche SE shareholders (where they held executive roles) about the scale of VW’s problems sooner. (..)
  • Denied speculation that it could have plans to sell either Bentley or Bugatti. (..)
  • Volkswagen brand held a brand update day showing progress on product launch and footprint realignment. Part of the materials showed a more detailed cost reduction plan: 7.5% productivity improvement in 2017, 7.5% in 2018 and then 5% in 2019 and 2020. (..)
  • Signed an agreement with operators of compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations announcing their commitment to the “extension of CNG mobility”. (..)
  • Increased incentives in the USA to try and sell 2015MY diesel stock (vehicles that are still brand new but had to be held for sale whilst they were repaired). Some vehicles are now available with 72 months interest free and a $5,000 discount. (..)

Q1 Earnings

  • Reported Q1 2017 detailed financial results. Deliveries of 2.495 million units were down 0.5% year-over-year. Group revenue of €56.2 billion was up 10.3% YoY. Group operating profit (excluding special items) of €4.4 billion was up almost 40% YoY. (..)

April

  • Saw speculation that it might sell its Ducati motorbike business (a part of the Audi group), a move that was reportedly criticised by union representatives on the Works Council (..)
  • Said that it would spend about €10 billion between now and 2022 to make a 10 to 15% improvement in the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines. It will also triple its investment in electric vehicles to €9 billion. (..)
  • Audi began taking pre-orders for its electric SUV in Norway. Although the advert mentions some technical specifications, no final price is given. The deposit amount (fully refundable) is 20,000 NOK (about €2,150). (..)
  • Saw considerable lobbying by other carmakers and interest groups around the use of funds VW has committed to improve electric vehicle charging in California as part of its diesel settlement. (..)
  • VW will test electric powered heavy trucks with some autonomous capabilities by using them for internal logistics. (..)
  • Gett (in which VW has a substantial stake) will buy New York based ride sharing company Juno for $250 million (the final value will reportedly depend on future performance of the combined entity). (..)
  • German fish distributor Deutsche See will purchase a fleet of 80 Streetscooter vans. In public comments the company was openly critical of VW’s failure to provide them with an all-electric van. (..)
  • Announced via an ad-hoc release that Q1 2017 profit before tax (€4.4 billion) and revenues were above market expectations. The ad-hoc release was made ahead of scheduled reporting due to German financial reporting rules. Daimler and BMW also had financial results in Q1 2017 that were significantly better than expected. (..)
  • Faced ongoing criticism of its management remuneration policy, especially concerns that year over year profit improvement versus diesel-scandal affected results may be treated as management performance rather than returning to normal. (..)
  • CEO of the Audi brands said that he expects the Chinese market for premium vehicles to grow by 50 percent in the next 10 years. (..)
  • Some further technical details of the US charging network that VW will fund emerged, including that the intended rating of the chargers will be 320kW (note that Tesla currently stands at around 135kW and recent Nissan investments are for around 150kW). (..)
  • Announced that Larry D. Thompson has been appointed to act as the Independent Compliance Monitor to oversee implementation of VW’s legal agreements with the US government that result from the diesel scandal. (..)
  • VW expects to launch a budget electric car in China in partnership with local manufacturer JAC. (..)
  • Said that in March 990,900 vehicles had been delivered, a 2.5% year-on-year increase (..)
  • Audi said that it would produce the Q8 SUV in Bratislava, Slovakia (where the Q7 is produced) and Q4 SUV in Gyor, Hungary (where the Q3 will soon be produced). (..)
  • Said that SEAT deliveries of 117,300 vehicles were the highest since 2001 and a year-over-year increase of 14%. (..)
  • Will offer a 6 year, 72,000 mile warranty on US SUVs in order to win back trust from customers. (..)
  • VW said that it had now bought back or fixed more than half of the 475k 2.0 litre diesel vehicles it agreed to recall in its settlement with US regulators. (..)
  • Reportedly VW is having a dispute with the UK’s Department for Transportation over payments covering upgrades to testing technology. The DfT has said that the upgrade is because of the Diesel Scandal whereas VW are arguing that it is an industry issue. (..)
  • Ferdinand Piech sold a major part of his stake in Porsche Automobil Holding to his brother Hans Michel Piech, who now owns 25.1% of Porsche SE (Source)
  • Gave some further details about the platform sharing arrangement between Audi and Porsche -- this had already been previewed in Strategy 2025 presentations (Source)
  • Porsche AG (the car brand) purchased the family’s stake in Porsche Design so that it is now a wholly owned subsidiary (Source)
  • Works Council head Bernd Osterloh was quoted as saying that VW sees the battery powertrain as making up around 40% of the cost of the vehicle in future and that the Works Council want that work to be in-house (Source)
  • Volkswagen group China and local firm Mobvoi have created a joint venture to develop automotive artificial intelligence that uses Mobvoi’s voice recognition software. (Source)
  • Successfully marketed sterling bonds for the first time since 2015 (Source)

March

  • Audi will buy 100% of Silvercar Inc (it already owned a minority stake)
  • Media reports that some of the VW diesel fixes in Europe had rendered cars “undrivable” with intermittent stalls and difficult restart being cited as issues.
  • Said that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had given approval for it to sale 67,000 diesel vehicles that had been withheld from sale since late 2015 due to the diesel scandal
  • The CEO of German supplier ZF said that the Volkswagen diesel scandal had cut the German automotive industry’s political clout and this would damage its ability to influence the Brexit negotiation outcome.
  • Filed a complaint with a Munich court to try and prevent material seized from its law firm (Jones Day) being used by German prosecutors. Jones Day were commissioned to lead an investigation into the diesel scandal, the full version of which has not been made public by VW.
  • Porsche SE extended the contract of CEO Hans Dieter Pötsch to 24th November 2022
  • Audi’s unions have reportedly demanded that more electric vehicles be sourced in Germany. Although Audi has promised BEV production to the Neckarsulm plant, employees want products sourced to Ingolstadt too.
  • Recommended that shareholders discharge top management and the supervisory board from liability for actions taken last year, saying this didn’t imply waiving possible compensation claims against the management team
  • Said it will recall 572,000 Audis in China for potentially defective roofs
  • Gave a vote of confidence to Audi CEO Rupert Stadler
  • Audi had to stop production of A4 and A5 in Ingolstadt due to supplier shortages - about 8,500 employees were affected
  • Said it would make efforts to improve its relationship with the UK dealer network after receiving a 3.9/10 score in the NFDA survey - VW had hoped for 4.5/10