VW Group, VW, Wolkswagen, Volkswagen Group, Audi, Automotive trends, Auto industry trends, Automotive market research, Automotive market analysis, auto industry news

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 and Bugatti. It also has extensive non-vehicle holdings including a sausage factory. a football club and the Ducati motorcycle brand. This page contains research on VW's activities and strategy.

Automotive trends, Auto industry trends, Automotive market research, Automotive market analysis, auto industry news

2019

October

  • Admitted increasing inventories of finished vehicles in the UK ahead of a potential no deal Brexit. (Reuters)
  • Confirmed that VW Groups three passenger car companies in India are now a single legal entity. (VW)
  • Porsche is collaborating with Boeing’s Aurora Flight Sciences subsidiary on air taxis. (Porsche)
  • Denied that it was seriously considering an IPO of the Lamborghini brand. (Reuters)

September

  • Bentley’s factory at Crewe has been certified as carbon neutral -- the plant generate 7.7MW from onsite solar panels and buys offsets for any net emissions. (Autocar)
  • Executives say VW is already in discussions with other car firms about licencing the premium electric vehicle platform being developed by Audi and Porsche. (Bloomberg)
  • The Traton truck division will spend €1 billion on R&D for electric vehicles by 2025, saying that in 10 - 15 years a third of the heavy vehicles sold will be electrified. (VW)
  • Audi revealed a bit more of its electrification plans. The number of vehicles with significant electrification planned for 2025 has become “more than 30” from “about 30”. 20 of these will be all-electric, up from 12 previously. In addition, Audi confirmed that the forthcoming Q4 e-tron all-electric mid-size SUV will be built in VW’s Zwickau factory, alongside the ID3. (Audi)
  • Porsche is adding 500 new job to the Zuffenhausen factory to increase capacity for Taycans. (Porsche)
  • VW executives confirmed that the company was in the final stages of talks to establish a new plant in Turkey saying that a final announcement could be only a few weeks away. (Handelsblatt)
  • Opened a new low volume battery manufacturing facility in Salzgitter, Germany. (VW)
  • Although VW’s chairman and CEO have been charged by German prosecutors with market manipulation, the company hasn’t asked them to step down, consistent with earlier briefings to the German press. (VW) VW said that it had been consistent with prior approaches to dealing with regulatory concerns and that US authorities had caught the board out by going public whilst still in discussion with VW. (VW)
  • VW will no longer engage in advanced research; all such activities must now be called innovation. (VW)
  • Manufacturing cost savings are ahead of target and likely to deliver a 6% year-over-year improvement in 2019, which VW says is equivalent to €500 million. Cost per vehicle has apparently fallen for the first time since 2013, showing how slippery analytical measures of performance can be (given that VW has trumpeted similar improvements in the past). (VW)
  • Audi published the results of a study into consumer attitudes about autonomous vehicles. (VW)
  • Reportedly has several potential bidders willing to meet a €700 million price tag for heavy vehicle transmissions division Renk. (Reuters)
  • Škoda’s digital assistant is called Laura. (Škoda)
  • VW said the German government should avoid heavier taxes on diesel and petrol, invoking the civil unrest caused by France’s yellow vests as an example of what might happen. (VW)
  • Settled a case in Australia related to emissions cheating that will see VW pay upwards of $87 million (the final amount depends on how many owners the lawyers can track down). (The Guardian)
  • Chairman Pötsch and CEO Diess are reportedly safe in their jobs even if German prosecutors charge them with failing to notify shareholders of the diesel scandal quickly enough. (Handelsblatt)
  • Detailed some of the carbon offsetting VW has paid for to earn a carbon neutral badging for the ID3. (VW)
  • Bentley released its most exclusive product. Just 100 jars of honey produced by Bentley’s on-site beehives are available. Some will go to VIP guests, and the remainder will be taste tested by hungry employees. (Bentley)
  • Škoda hopes that the plug-in hybrid version of the Superb will make up around 20% of sales, meaning about 15,000 cars per year. (Automotive News)
  • The next generation Golf will have two plug-in hybrid derivatives. The first will be a near-carryover of today’s GTE specification (around 200PS) whilst the second will have higher performance (around 240PS). (Autocar)
  • Took a 25% stake in Indian online lender Kuwy. (Verna)
  • Audi says the electric car has the best lifetime carbon footprint of all drive systems (in developed markets). (Audi)
  • CEO Diess complained to journalists that the auto industry was treated unfairly when it came to CO2 emissions reduction. His analysis says that it costs €1,000 to eliminate one ton of CO2 from a car but it would only be €14 to get the same reduction in emissions from a power plant. (Handelsblatt)
  • VW Financial’s boss says that market share growth is near impossible once the 50% - 60% level is reached (as VW has in the large European markets). The company wants to be the largest pan-brand leasing fleet leasing company by 2025. (Handelsblatt)
  • Unveiled a new, yet familiar looking, VW logo. The change is a case study in bureaucracy: 19 internal teams and 17 external agencies were involved in finalising the new design in the “record time” of nine months and it will take until mid-2020 for everyone to have started using it. VW put this down to a “cost-optimized, resource-conserving” approach. (VW)
  • Unveiled the production version of the ID3. Prices start at €30,000 for the base 45 kWh version. (VW)
  • VW’s marketing materials indicate an intention to position the all-electric ID3 above the electric Golf in the range and use the more capable purpose built ID3 to justify continuing with a smaller (cheaper) battery in the Golf in a bid to attract price-conscious buyers. (VW)
  • Audi says that by using robots to apply body sealer (a paste-like substance that seals gaps in the body work before paint and is normally applied with a brush or stick on pads) saves several kilograms of material. (Audi)
  • The Moia ride hailing service in Hamburg aims to serve 10,000 customers per day by the end of 2019. (VW)
  • Said that with “just a few exceptions”, VW’s vehicles had been certified to the latest level of WLTP regulations that kicked in on September 1st. (VW)
  • Running a pilot program that will give customer the option to fit 3D printed customised parts. (VW)
  • Lamborghini unveiled the limited edition Sián supercar. Badged as a hybrid, the car uses 48V motors for torque infill and a supercapacitor in lieu of a battery for more rapid charge and discharge, plus higher power density (and therefore weight). (Lamborghini)
  • Will start production of a new MQB-based small “urban coupe” (ie style-led crossover) in Brazil in 2020, with European production to start in 2021. (VW)
  • Porsche unveiled the production version of the Taycan all-electric sportscar. (Porsche)
  • Finalised a joint venture with Northvolt that will lead to a 16 GWh capacity factory in Germany. The company estimates that by 2025 it will be using 300 GWh of batteries annually. (VW)
  • Porsche upped its stake in Rimac to 15.5%. (Porsche)
  • VW expects electric cars to have maintenance costs 20% - 30% lower than conventionally powered vehicles. To offset the revenue losses the company hopes to keep customers using official parts and franchised dealers for longer (many drop out of the OEM ecosystem when the vehicle is 3 - 5 years old). VW also has efficiency measures in mind, saying the average workshop job generates 80 minutes of paperwork. VW wants to improve this to 15 minutes. (VW)
  • SEAT showed off a new concept for a dynamically styled all-electric SUV. Based on VW’s MEB platform, SEAT’s concept has a 77 kWh battery pack. It isn’t clear whether this is an indicator of where VW believe battery capacities will head, even for mass market products. (SEAT)
  • Evasive answers from VW’s COO led reporters to the conclusion that VW was paying less than $100 per kWh for batteries used in the ID3. (New York Times)

August

  • Settled a series of lawsuits in the US by agreeing to pay owners $96.5 million and restating fuel economy figures to a lower level. (Detroit News)
  • Škoda showed a concept for an electric bicycle -- unlike many offerings, it can’t be pedalled and relies on battery power alone, with footrests provided for the rider. (Škoda)
  • Porsche will expand the all-inclusive Passport and Drive schemes to four more US cities. (Porsche)
  • Lamborghini’s CEO said half-jokingly that the company will take care of transporting your luggage between destinations should you find the pint-sized trunk too small. (Bloomberg)
  • Audi is reportedly in talks with BYD about a battery supply contract. (Bloomberg)
  • Appears to be in final negotiations with the Turkish government over a new plant, with VW’s only remaining concern being government agreement to change current tax rules that favour very small cars. (Reuters)
  • Former CEO and Chairman Ferdinand Piëch died. He was a member of the senior management team from 1988 to 2015 and oversaw a massive expansion in sales, products and brands. (VW)
  • Took a stake in 3D holography start-up SeeReal. (VW)
  • Planning to invest around $580 million in its Brazilian operations, according to a local politician. (Reuters)
  • US VW dealers say that diesel cars repaired following the emissions scandal are flying off the lots -- helped by prices that are about the same as petrol versions, and with a better warranty. (New York Times)
  • Porsche released interior shots of the all-electric Taycan’s interior. (Porsche)
  • Sacked 204 staff in Q1 2019 for not obeying compliance standards. (Detroit News)
  • Bentley has spent about four million pounds on Brexit measures, including switching the port used to import components from Porsche’s factory and doubling inventory of high-risk parts. CEO Hallmark says that since he joined, productivity at Crewe has improved 25 percent through changes such as re-processing door production so shopfloor workers only walk six metres for each installation, instead of 54 metres previously. (Handesblatt)
  • Will unveil a new take on the VW logo at the Frankfurt show. (Autocar)
  • Porsche performed an endurance test with the Taycan (on a closed course), driving 2,128 miles in 24 hours, with stops for fast charging and driver changes. (Porsche)
  • FAW-VW opened a new test track in Jilin Province, China. (China Daily)
  • Recalling 679,000 vehicles in the US to fix a problem with the parking brake. (Economic Times of India)
  • Reportedly interested in buying stakes in Chinese suppliers to secure key technologies, with battery developer Guoxuan High-Tech mentioned as a candidate. (Deal Street Asia)
  • Audi is said to be joining BMW and Daimler’s collaboration on advanced driver assistance systems (but not the fully autonomous kind), with an announcement set for the Frankfurt show. (Reuters)
  • After a German magazine article implied that VW was interested in acquiring a stake in Tesla, VW said the rumour was unfounded. (CNBC)
  • Porsche invested in infra-red camera developer TriEye. (Porsche)
  • Audi showed teaser images of the AI:Trail SUV concept it will show at Frankfurt. (Auto Express)
  • Rumoured to be planning to reveal the next member of the ID family, via an almost production-ready concept, at the Los Angeles show in November. (Green Car Reports)
  • VW plans to install 4,000 charging points in Germany by 2025 and says that by then, VW and its dealers will have installed 36,000 charging points across Europe. Note that these are not high powered chargers. (VW)
  • Porsche issued a €1 billion green bond. The proceeds will be used for the Taycan. (Porsche)
  • Bugatti unveiled the Centrodieci, a 10 unit limited edition rebodied Chiron with a $10 million price tag. (Bugatti)
  • Pininfarina reckon that VW’s forthcoming PPE platform for all-electric premium vehicles (being developed by Audi and Porsche) is no good for SUVs. (Automotive News)
  • Bentley’s boss says he is relatively unconcerned about Brexit because of the brand’s pricing power, although he called the prospect of no deal “annoying and painful”. (Telegraph)
  • Lamborghini says that 70% of Urus SUV buyers are new to the brand and that no firm decisions have been taken on a fourth model, although some discussion has clearly taken place since a 2+2 GT is “one possibility”. The CEO remains open-minded on whether to install turbocharged engines. (Autocar)
  • Audi has designed an electric scooter that users can ride with only one hand on the controls. It will be on sale at the end of 2020 and cost “about €2,000”. (Audi)
  • Audi is reportedly sub-contracting much of the next generation (all-electric) R8 powertrain to Rimac. (Car)

July

  • Porsche says that 30,000 customers have paid a €2,500 deposit for a Taycan electric car. (Handelsblatt)
  • Acquired “nearly a quarter” of charging station management company has.to.be and will help fund an expansion of the European network. (VW)
  • Porsche’s digital team is around 120-strong and will grow further with the addition of a second US office. (Porsche)
  • Audi’s former CEO has been charged with fraud relating to the dieselgate scandal. (BBC)
  • Audi will sell a cheaper version of the e-tron with a 71 kWh battery, but not in the USA. (Electrek)
  • CEO Diess sees the MEB platform becoming the “industry standard for electric vehicles”. (Automobil Sport)
  • Dropping estate car (station wagon) bodystyles from the US line-up because SUVs have “assumed the mantle of family haulers”. (CBNC)
  • Said that vehicles produced in India will have around 90% local sourcing, a slight climbdown from targets of 95% that VW earlier announced for vehicles on the MQB platform. (Economic Times of India)
  • Reckons that the latest generation of manual gearbox can reduce CO2 emissions by five grams per kilometre in some cars, equivalent to about 3% - 4%. VW said that until now “nobody took much notice of manual gearboxes” as a way of improving fuel economy. (VW)
  • Reportedly considering an offer for the MAN Energy Solutions (large engines) unit, from Cummins. (Reuters)
  • Bentley unveiled the EXP 100 GT concept, an all-electric GT with (intended) self-driving capability that represents the product Bentley hopes to sell in 2035. The sleek design implies that Bentley believe all sensors required for autonomous driving will be integrated into the bodywork by then. (Bentley)
  • VW has set a target to become “balance sheet CO2 neutral” by 2025, implying extensive use of renewable energy and carbon offsets. The move may be partly aimed at EU CO2 regulations which imply that the emissions from the entire vehicle lifecycle will be considered. (VW)
  • VW highlighted how much of the forthcoming ID3 electric vehicle components are made in-house. (VW)
  • CEO Diess said VW preferred Ford / Argo to other options because he wanted an American technology partner and to work with a strong OEM. It wasn’t clear how this was different to (US-based) Aurora and their OEM partners Hyundai / KIA and FCA. (Seeking Alpha)
  • VW’s parking subsidiary PayByPhone acquired Mirada Connect. (FINSMES)
  • VW’s head of procurement says that the automotive industry is “obliged” to find a way to consolidate internal combustion assets without uncontrolled insolvencies. (Reuters)
  • Ford and VW announced the terms of a tie-up for autonomous vehicles. VW will merge its autonomous driving efforts (with a claimed value of $1.6 billion) with Argo AI and stump up a further $1 billion in cash, plus hand over $500 million to Ford to buy into the project. After the transaction is complete, Ford and VW will hold an equal share in a business, they say, worth $7 billion. (VW)
  • Ford agreed to build up to 600,000 MEB-based electric cars and could “almost double” that figure if a second product, currently under discussion between the two parties, gets the go ahead. (VW) Ford will pay licensing fees on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis. (Reuters) with implied ~€15,000 per vehicle of revenue for VW. (Ford)
  • Ford and VW’s collaboration on commercial vehicles saves “several hundred million euros”. (VW)
  • Ford and VW might share some of the behind the scenes infrastructure related to autonomous cars but haven’t decided yet. (Seeking Alpha)
  • Aims for 50% of Chinese sales to be electric vehicles by 2035. (VW)
  • VW expects solid state batteries to become cost competitive in the late 2020s and says that most of the production equipment and 60% of the tooling is the same as lithium ion cells, so newly built factories won’t become obsolete even if the technology changes. (Reuters)
  • Bentley’s boss wants to build an all-electric car but says that current technology (specifically the battery energy density) won’t allow him to create a vehicle with long range that isn’t too heavy, and that he might have to wait until 2025 for the right batteries to come along. (Autocar)
  • Ford and VW are reportedly close to an overarching deal that will see Ford sell a share of self-driving unit Argo AI to VW in exchange for access to the MEB electric vehicle platform. The value of the self-driving technology is apparently lower than Ford hoped because VW reckons it won’t be commercially available in large numbers for such a long time. (Handelsblatt)

Q2 2019 Earnings

  • Delivered 2,759,700 vehicles in Q2 2019, a drop of (2.8)% versus prior year. (VW)

June

  • Reportedly will present plans to expand the strategic alliance with Ford at the July board meeting. (Bloomberg)
  • Truck unit Traton had its IPO without much fanfare. (Reuters)
  • Workers at VW’s much-rumoured new plant in Turkey would likely be paid between €1.40 - €2.40 per hour, according to local unions. (FAZ)
  • Launched an all-electric car sharing service in Berlin, Germany, with plans to expand into other European cities during 2020. (VW)
  • Plans to write 60% of the software in the car, up from 10% today by forming a team of 5,000 software engineers who will write a “vw.os” that all VW Group cars will use. (VW)
  • CEO Herbert Diess says that about half of VW’s engine and gearbox plants will need to close in the next 10 years, but expects battery production to compensate. (Autocar)
  • VW’s German car sharing brand WeShare will charge its electric vehicles through exclusive overnight use of the facilities in supermarket car parks. (VW)
  • VW’s newest car factory will reportedly be in Turkey, beating rival bids from Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. The Turkish government has apparently agreed a three digit million euro support package. A firm decision is expected soon, with Bulgarian officials on standby to scupper the deal if they get a chance. VW’s underperformance in the local market seems a partial justification for the move. (Handelsblatt)
  • CEO Diess has reportedly told the team delivering the new Golf that he will be very unhappy with them if they don’t start delivering vehicles before the end of 2019. (Automotive News)
  • Porsche will offer a three-pronged portfolio of all-electric, hybrid and combustion engine only powertrains for at least the next 10 years. (USA Today)
  • Opened a new data centre in Norway that uses hydropower, letting VW claim it is carbon neutral. (VW)
  • Ended the self-driving vehicle development partnership with Aurora. (FT)
  • CEO Diess reportedly told managers an autonomous vehicle partnership with Ford was almost complete. (Reuters) He also said that an alliance with Ford was a wise move because the company was becoming too China-oriented in its thinking and a US perspective was a useful counterbalance. (Manager Magazin)
  • Audi recalled about 540 e-tron all-electric SUVs in the USA saying it needed to repair seals that could allow water into the battery compartment. (Inside EVs)
  • VW’s partner in Algeria is reportedly under investigation for corruption. (Economic Times of India)
  • Hopes that an IPO of truck unit Traton will raise about €1.9 billion. (VW)
  • VW’s plant in Tennessee, USA, voted against unionisation, but given the closeness of the vote (712 to 626), it seemed likely that this won’t be the last try. (Reuters)
  • Invested €900 million in battery producer Northvolt for about 20% of the firm and confirmed plans to create a joint venture that will have a 16 GWh factory. (VW)
  • Agreed with unions that 4,000 German jobs can be eliminated by 2023 in VW’s digitalisation initiative, but only in exchange for guarantees that there will be no involuntary redundancies until 2029. VW executives had previously talked about up to 7,000 posts going. (VW)
  • After months of rumours, the sale of transmissions maker Renk is reportedly imminent. (Reuters)

May

  • Rumoured to have concerns that a 20 GWh battery supply deal with Samsung will ultimately only deliver 5 GWh because of differences over production volumes and point in time demands. VW said that it still regarded Samsung as a major supplier. (Bloomberg)
  • Showed a concept interior with infotainment controlled via a holographic interface. (VW)
  • Audi advertising executives were presumably so exhausted by the process of securing the rights to Tomoyasu Hotei’s “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” that afterwards they paired it with an underwhelming e-tron advert. (YouTube)
  • Workers at the Chattanooga, USA, plant will vote on whether to unionise. (Reuters)
  • The Traton truck division will have a dual-listing on the Frankfurt and Nasdaq exchanges. (VW)
  • SEAT and JAC signed the detailed cooperation agreement that will see the two develop electric cars together and experiment with new mobility services in Hefei, China. (VW)
  • Porsche used 7,654 different suppliers in 2019. (VW)
  • Porsche believes that by the time the all-electric Macan becomes available, public perception will have moved enough that it can be a sales success. The US-market subscription program is apparently going so well that it will be expanded to more cities, and that the average customer age is lower than car buyers. (Automotive News)
  • Scania will spend $344 million to upgrade a truck factory in Brazil. (Reuters)
  • Created a service called We Experience to sell physical services located nearby to drivers. (VW)
  • A VW board member said the company was in the process of detailed planning for a battery factory with Northvolt and might add further European locations. (Reuters)
  • Audi’s on-demand short term rental service will have about 10,000 cars in the fleet by late 2019. (VW)
  • Audi’s CEO says the brand will be the benchmark for electric cars in two to three years. (Manager Magazin)
  • Audi will spend €40 billion on R&D and manufacturing assets between now and 2023, with €14 billion of that going towards electric vehicles, autonomous driving and digitalisation. (Audi)
  • Announced a plan to invest almost €1 billion into building a factory for battery cells in Salzgitter, Germany. Unions welcomed the move. (VW)
  • Confirmed rumours that it is interested in selling Man Energy and Renk to raise cash. (VW)
  • Decided that the IPO for truck division Traton is back on, after deciding in March that market conditions wouldn’t deliver the hoped for returns. It should happen before the summer break. (VW)
  • The VW ID3 will have a top speed of 160 km/h (100 mph). (VW)
  • VW announced that the Golf-sized all-electric car will be called ID3 when launched, implying a numbering system consistent with age-old alphabetical segment nomenclature (e.g. Golf is c-segment). (VW)
  • VW booked 10,000 fully refundable orders for the launch variant of the ID3 (with up to 30,000 on offer) unfortunately, the IT systems struggled to cope with interest in the ID and kept crashing. (VW)
  • Porsche has agreed to pay German authorities a €535 million over the diesel scandal. (Porsche)
  • Despite long delays in getting eTron vehicles to customers, Audi reportedly is threatening them with huge break fees of over $5,000 if they cancel. (Teslerati)
  • Audi says the eTron can charge quicker than all its competitors (although it doesn’t explicitly say who the competition are). (Audi)
  • Reportedly casting around for buyers of MAN’s large engines division, according to sources who sound exactly like investment bankers trying to drum up interest in the sale. (Reuters)

April

  • Will reportedly use electric scooters source from Chinese firm NIU. (Reuters)
  • Shortages of batteries have reportedly forced Audi to cut full year production plans for the e-tron by about 20% -- to around 45,000 units. (Brussels Times)
  • Lost a court battle that will limit the rate at which the Moia ride hailing division can expand the fleet size. (Golem)
  • Has been running the numbers for cradle-to-grave CO2 emissions to compare fossil fuel powered vehicles with battery electric versions. The conclusion is that electric cars are already responsible for fewer emissions but have a far worse footprint in the production stage. VW says there are steps which will dramatically improve this. (VW)
  • Media reports suggested that VW initially expects to lose €3,000 on every ID all-electric car sold, with breakeven only coming in around 2025. (Auto Motor Und Sport)
  • Audi reportedly wants to sell down stakes in engineering service providers. (Reuters)
  • Audi’s AI:ME concept car in Shanghai, previewed an interior for a car with partial self-driving abilities. The 65 kWh battery of the concept suggested that VW doesn’t see huge batteries as necessary for mid-sized cars. (VW)
  • Former CEO Winterkorn was charged by German prosecutors over the diesel scandal. (Reuters)
  • Joining a supplier traceability collaboration that uses blockchain, Ford is already a partner. (VW)
  • VW CEO Diess was accused of insensitivity over comments over Chinese camps for Uighurs. (Washington Post)
  • VW’s Slovakian operations will reduce staff by 3,000 and aim for lower wages as part of efforts to improve efficiency by almost a third. (Reuters)
  • According to critical newspaper reports, CEO Diess has alienated labour leaders, top shareholders and many direct reports. Aggrieved parties, via journalists, caution that he must lead by consensus and his chances of becoming the Millwall of CEOs (no one likes us, we don’t care) are slim. (Handelsblatt)
  • Škoda’s boss claims the brand could have sold an additional 100,000 cars in 2018, had the production capacity been available. (Autocar)
  • Despite the overall fall in European diesel sales, Audi is withdrawing S6 and S7 petrol derivatives. (Manager Magazin)
  • Employees are going to have to make do without colour printing. Existing machines will be switched to black and white only mode and no new colour models will be purchased. The firm aims for less than five percent of print outs to be colour in future. (Handelsblatt)
  • Rumoured to be exploring options for a stake in Chinese joint venture partner JAC. (Reuters)
  • Reportedly having trouble with the development of both the next-generation Golf and the ID, and may fail to bring them to market within the planned timeframe. (Handelsblatt)
  • Announced a long-term lithium supply deal with Ganfeng. (VW)
  • Merging all Indian passenger car legal entities into a single company as part of organisational changes putting Škoda in charge of developing low cost cars. (VW)
  • Will show a full size all-electric SUV dubbed ID-Roomzz at the Shanghai show. The vehicle will launch in China in 2021, with other markets following on. (VW)
  • Accused by the EU of breaking competition rules by discussing emissions technologies with BMW and Daimler. VW earlier suggested that it expects relatively light punishment after acting as a whistle-blower (without knowing that Daimler had already got there first). (Reuters)
  • The head of VW’s works council has reportedly called on the board to extend no-layoff guarantees for German workers out to 2028. (Handelsblatt)

Q1 2019 Earnings

  • VW Group sold 2,605,600 units in Q1 2019, down (2.8)% from a year ago. (VW)
  • Announced Q1 2019 group revenue of €60 billion, up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. Operating profit of €4.85 billion rose 15% YoY but bottom line profits were worse, with the passenger car division responsible. (VW)

March

  • CEO Diess isn’t interested in making a bid for FCA. (Reuters)
  • Audi is planning two eTron GT all-electric saloons, one similarly sized to the A4, and one around A6-size. Audi will use the PPE platform for the A4 eTron but the MEB platform for the Q4 eTron, despite both vehicles being around the same size. (Autocar)
  • Executives expressed hope in closing a deal with Ford to buy a stake in Argo AI. (Reuters)
  • VW says the Group’s cars and trucks account for 2% of global CO2 (Times LIVE)
  • Scrapped 300,000 German diesel vehicles traded in under an incentive scheme. (VW)
  • Although VW will sell electric vehicles in Brazil, it won’t make them locally for some time. (Reuters)
  • SEAT will develop a smaller version of the MEB all-electric platform, aiming for a starting price below €20,000. (SEAT)
  • Porsche’s CEO floated the idea of using subscriptions for limited edition cars to prevent speculation. (Autocar)
  • Bugatti is rumoured to be planning a new all-electric saloon, potentially to be called Royale, that would be based on Porsche Taycan underpinnings. (CAR)
  • VW Bank wants to save €850 million per year by 2025 and plans to cut around 800 of the 7,000 staff by 2025 to help achieve it. (Handelsblatt)
  • Škoda’s CEO confirmed two MEB-based electric cars to launch by 2022, with a low-cost model planned to come after that. (Autocar) Despite resistance from German unions, he continues to plan for a new Eastern European production site to expand capacity. (Autocar)
  • Forming a new company called MOS, to sell connected car services in China in partnership with FAW. (VW)
  • VW internal analysis reportedly shows that producing battery cells in Germany would increase costs by 20% compared to other options. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche will end the night shift at the Leipzig plant after the summer shutdown, but says only temporary workers will be affected. (Manager Magazin)
  • Porsche launched an (expensive looking) set of new dealer standards. (Porsche)
  • After a ship carrying four limited edition Porsche 911 GT2 RSs sank, Porsche will restart production of the cars to ensure their owners weren’t thwarted by acts of God. (The Drive)
  • Škoda said that pay increases at 2018 levels would not be affordable in 2019. (Reuters)
  • The Porsche / Piëch family investment vehicle raised its voting stake in VW Group from 52.2% to 53.1%. (Reuters)
  • Porsche unveiled a “coupe” version of the Cayenne. (Porsche)
  • Comments by Porsche executives about the next generation Cayenne indicate that it could be the brand’s first mixed powertrain vehicle, with both internal combustion engine and battery electric derivatives. (Autocar)
  • VW launched a battery consortium with Northvolt. (VW)
  • Although VW continues to look for a new Eastern European factory, it won’t be in Ukraine. (Kyiv Post)
  • VW upped the planned number of electric vehicles to around 70 by 2028 from a previous plan of 50 by 2025. Cumulative sales targets will rise from 15 million to 22 million units (about 3 million in 2025). By 2030, the Group forecasts that 40% of sales will be electric models. (VW)
  • VW now sees PHEV and BEV as more cost efficient for reducing CO2 emissions than improving technology on engines [slide 5]. The firm also appears to be redistributing compliance costs and benefits across vehicle lines to better reflect “real” profits [slide 6]. VW expects costs of battery electric vehicles and those with internal combustion engines to meet before 2025. (VW)
  • VW believe that cost parity (customer view) between internal combustion engines and battery electric vehicles will only be achieved through including ownership costs. The firm is therefore exploring all-inclusive packages that ensure the customer realises the benefits. VW will put more effort into used car sales too -- having woken up to the dominance of retail customers in that market. (VW)
  • Reportedly considering leaving the German trade association, the VDA, over differences in strategy. (FAZ)
  • CFO Witter said the Group was failing to fully leverage the available synergies between different brands, mainly because it allowed too much independence when there was no financial benefit. (Handelsblatt)
  • Thinks that the Chinese market for electric vehicles will be 80% BEV and 20% PHEV by 2025. By then, VW hopes to have 40 products on sale, with annual volumes of 1.5 million units. (VW)
  • Lamborghini sold 5,750 units in 2018 and “evidenced” how it could be profitable. (VW)
  • Audi increased the 2025 target for all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles from “more than 20” to “about 30”. The brand also wants to share more with the rest of the VW Group, particularly Porsche. (VW)
  • CEO Diess found himself in hot water after saying that “[high] EBIT sets you free”, seemingly echoing the phrase used on the gates at Auschwitz. He apologised and said the similarity was unintentional. (Handelsblatt)
  • CEO Diess denied rumours that VW Group was interested in taking a stake in Waymo. (Reuters) He believes that 90% of future innovation will come from software -- without explaining how that is measured (software will apparently account for 50% of development costs in the 2030s). The next generation VW Golf will consolidate the 70 processors in today’s car into three units. (Reuters)
  • Recruiting 1,200 drivers for the fleet of 500 Moia vehicles in Hamburg, paying around €12 per hour. (Handelsblatt)
  • Will not proceed with the IPO of truck division Traton, citing market conditions. (VW)
  • The US SEC is seeking to sue former CEO Winterkorn over the diesel scandal. VW will help defend him. (Reuters)
  • Gave an overview of the production planning system used by Volkswagen to schedule smooth production. The downside is that with a four week planning horizon is needed. Build to order advocates look away now. (VW)
  • A glowing profile of Porsche boss Oliver Blume, suggested he is being backed as the next CEO of VW Group when Diess’s tenure expires. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche says that electric cars have €6,000 - €10,000 higher material cost than comparable conventionally powered cars. (Porsche)
  • Will cut 7,000 jobs to save money and because VW believes that electric vehicles have 30% lower labour hours per units than conventionally powered cars. (Reuters)
  • Recalling nearly 75,000 Audis of various types to fix problems with fuel leaks. (Detroit News)
  • Porsche will increase the production capacity of the all-electric Taycan above 20,000 units per year, but won’t say by how much. (Bloomberg)
  • Bentley says that battery technology needs to lead to a doubling of energy density before the brand can consider it as a suitable alternative to internal combustion engines for products like Bentayga. The brand believes that fuel cells may be the answer, but sees the technology as more than 10 years away. (Autocar)
  • Although VW continues to explore potential sites for a new plant in Eastern Europe, works council representatives are reportedly unimpressed and plan to vote against the scheme. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche is currently studying a successor to the 918 Spyder supercar and hasn’t yet decided whether it should have a hybrid or all-electric drivetrain. (Autocar)
  • Bugatti unveiled a one-off “voiture noire” coach-built Chiron derivative. Bugatti says the car has been sold for £9.5 million and the project pretty much broke even. (Autocar)
  • CEO Diess believes that automakers are trading at a discount because the market does not believe they can make the transition from vehicles with internal combustion engines to all-electric power and that explaining the transition plan will be critical to winning investor confidence. (CNBC)
  • VW’s commercial vehicle chief said autonomous vehicles require at least five years of further research and the sensor set cost needs to fall to around €6,000 - €7,000 per car. (Reuters)
  • Audi showed the Q4 e-tron all-electric SUV. (Audi)
  • Audi is experimenting with installing used lithium-ion batteries from road cars into plant vehicles such as forklift trucks and tugs. The firm believes that the repurposed batteries could be more efficient than the traditional lead acid packs originally fitted. However, Audi’s description of a recycling process that includes stripping down the donor pack, testing the cells and then re-packaging into a completely different configuration serves to demonstrate that the recycling process hasn’t been fully thought-through. (Audi)
  • Says that there may be no business case for combustion engine powered city cars like the Up! as emissions legislation in Europe will make them too expensive to produce; and that poorer customers will suffer as a result. (Autocar)

February

  • Will use Jetta as a standalone brand in the Chinese market, in partnership with FAW. The portfolio draws heavily on SEAT models. (Autocar)
  • Announced that the next generation Macan will be all-electric. (Porsche)
  • Reportedly considering a smaller IPO of truck division Traton than the previously mentioned 25% stake if economic conditions deteriorate. (Reuters)
  • Although some claimed that VW and Ford were close to a deal to team up on self-driving equipment (WSJ), others said that a deal was months away and implied that leaks were almost all from VW and unreliable. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Announced an executive reorganisation at the VW brand aimed at giving CEO Diess more time to run the wider group. The main changes are a broader remit for the COO and a more important digital services function. (VW)
  • VW and Russian partner Gaz have apparently been working on a series of nearly finalised new projects, with the intent of being able to make a fast start if US sanctions against Gaz are lifted. (Handelsblatt)
  • Announced that e.Go will licence the MEB platform. (VW)
  • Audi’s CEO believes that one in ten management positions should be eliminated. He said that eliminating 30% of powertrain combinations (the least popular ones) resulted in hardly any sales being lost. (Handelsblatt)
  • Bentley’s CEO says that brand’s recovery plan is already ahead of schedule. (Autocar)
  • LG Chem has reportedly threatened to supply VW Group with fewer batteries than the car maker would like if VW proceeds to build battery factories in partnership with SK Innovation. (Manager Magazin)
  • Audi reportedly told unions that it wishes to cancel the night shift at Ingolstadt to save costs. (Handelsblatt)
  • VW’s head of design gave an in-house interview talking about the challenges of electric vehicle design and the benefits of latest virtual reality gizmos. (VW)
  • Audi trumpeted the success of early trials of an internal resource allocation system that lets employees vote on the benefit of potential new projects. (VW)
  • Output at the Zwickau plant has been temporarily reduced, VW says supplier problems are to blame. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche is making UK customers sign up for a potential 10% surcharge in the event of a no-deal Brexit if they have a car delivered after the end of March 2019. Since a 10% import tariff would apply to the imported cost of the vehicle (i.e. less than dealer margin and national sales company profits), Porsche would effectively be over-charging for the tariff. (Car Dealer Magazine)
  • Talks with VW on sharing autonomous and electric vehicle technology appear to be taking longer than both parties hoped. On driverless cars, VW’s valuation of Argo.ai seems far lower than Ford had hoped and Ford’s head of markets wondered aloud on a podcast whether VW’s MEB electric vehicle platform was suitable for blue oval products in markets outside Europe and China. (Reuters)
  • Announced an new initiative to rate suppliers based on their manufacturing emissions, in part because -- for battery electric vehicles -- more of the supply chain is outsourced. (VW)
  • VW’s Moia on-demand shuttle service plans to charge around €6 - €7 per trip. The company believes that there is a gap in the market between public transport (cheaper) and taxis (more expensive). (VW)
  • VW has reportedly abandoned plans to fit the sporty GTI derivative of the next generation Golf with a 48V augmented gasoline engine. The technology will still be used on more economy-minded derivatives. (Autocar)
  • As rumours swirled of a plan to sue Bosch heavily for the firm’s role in the US diesel scandal, VW refused to comment whilst Bosch said the idea was unimaginable. (Handelsblatt)
  • Will launch the updated Passat at the Geneva show. VW confirmed that there is a PHEV derivative with around 55 km of WLTP range and there will be a “partially automated” driving function called IQ.Drive. VW implies that IQ.Drive, an amalgam of different systems such as adaptive cruise, lane keeping and emergency steering will capably drive on the highway so long as the driver keeps their hands on the steering wheel. (VW)
  • VW overhauled its system for staff to submit improvement ideas -- and upped the maximum payout to €75k. (VW)
  • VW Financial Services acquired a 60% stake in Fleet Logistics, folding in the CarMobility subsidiary. (Fleet Europe)
  • Seat will work overtime during March because of strong demand for the Ibiza and Arona. (Europa Press)

January

  • Wants the MEB electric vehicle platform to be used by other OEMs and become a standard for them. (VW)
  • Plans to have a sub €20,000 all-electric car on sale in Europe by 2023 to 2024. (Autocar)
  • The first 200 E-Tron SUVs have a limited edition specification and €106,000 price tag. (Handelsblatt)
  • Continuing strike action at Audi’s Hungarian plant led to stoppages at German factories. (Reuters)
  • Over 50% of Porsche employees were born after 1979. (Porsche)
  • Will reduce the workforce in Slovakia, primarily through non-renewal of fixed term contracts and by ending the secondment of 500 Hungarian Audi staff. (Reuters)
  • Porsche Taycan buyers in the USA will get three years of free charging, providing they use stations owned by parent VW’s Electrify America subsidiary and only stay for half an hour. (Porsche)
  • Signed an MoU with the Ethiopian government to establish local assembly and component supply. (VW)
  • Said that diesel orders in Germany have started to pick up again with new 2018 orders having a 43% diesel mix, up from 39% in 2017. (VW)
  • Expanding the Audi on demand service to Spain following trials in the UK. At around £2,200 for a one month loan of an A4 saloon, the offering doesn’t differentiate on price from major daily rentals. (Audi)
  • Porsche may be fined after admitting it submitted incorrect fuel economy figures during the homologation of the prior series 911. (Autocar)
  • CEO Diess believes that Chinese demand will continue to grow, albeit slowly. (Reuters)
  • Bugatti’s CEO rejected rumours that the brand will produce an SUV. (Autocar)
  • Reportedly plans to build 40,000 Porsche Taycans per year and may add a second factory (Porsche previously talked about 20,000 units capacity). Audi’s e-Tron also looks set for an increase in production rate from 20 to 24 vehicles per hour. (Automotive News)
  • Following warning strikes, workers in Audi’s Hungarian factory stopped work for a week. (Bloomberg)
  • Invested $10 million in battery developer Forge Nano. (VW)
  • Bentley’s CEO said a no deal Brexit would pose a “fundamental risk” to the brand’s profitability. He set the costs of increased customs checks in perspective saying that he would choose a few million pounds of additional inventory over the risk of disrupted production from running supply chains too lean. (Reuters)
  • Porsche invested in roadside assistance firm Urgent.ly. (Porsche)
  • Audi is looking to make €15 billion of cost cuts by 2022. Audi believes that natural attrition will reduce the workforce by 14,000 people in a five year period. (Reuters)
  • Ford and VW announced the first fruits of their collaboration, covering commercial vehicles. There will be a pick-up led by Ford; a small van led by VW; and a 1T van led by Ford. The vehicles will launch from 2022 onwards. The two parties signed MoUs to investigate autonomous vehicles and electric powertrains -- there had been some hopes that they would make firm commitments in this area. (VW)
  • Sees great potential for CNG vehicles in India. (Autocar)
  • Announced an $800 million investment in the Chattenooga plant to build electric cars on the MEB platform. (VW)
  • Porsche launched a pay per mile insurance scheme in the US to reduce ownership costs. (Porsche)
  • Audi says that profits on electric cars will be similar to a well-equipped diesel. (Automotive News)
  • Agreed to pay €12.3 million to the Indian authorities relating to exhaust emission irregularities, but VW said it continues to dispute the fine and wants the money back. (Handelsblatt)
  • Audi workers in Hungary started warning strikes after demanding an 18% pay rise. Unions say that they are paid far less than Slovak and Polish counterparts, not to mention those in Western Europe. (Reuters)
  • Considering building a rugged BEV that “loves scratches”. (Automotive News)
  • Spending €250 million to develop the low cost MQB A0 platform in India. VW says the vehicles produced in the country with have 95% local content. (VW)
  • VW’s chairman said that entry level vehicles would have to rise in price if they had electric drivetrains. (Handelsblatt)
  • Creating a subsidiary called Elli that will provide charging services. (VW)
  • VW and Ford will reportedly announce specifics of their new alliance at the Detroit show with sources suggesting that press releases will concentrate on commercial vehicle ties ups and rumoured plans for VW to buy into Ford’s Argo autonomous technology unit and Ford licencing VW’s MEB platform will remain unconfirmed. (Reuters)
  • Said that proposed hardware retrofits in Germany would reduce reliability and change the driving characteristics of vehicles. VW believes that some vehicles will be impossible to retrofit and that even those that can be modified may fall short of the envisaged emissions levels. (VW)
  • The Porsche and Piech families, majority owners of VW Group, have declared the performance of Bentley to be unsatisfactory and want a turnaround to yield results within two years. (FAZ)

2018

FY & Q4 2018 Earnings

  • VW Group sold 10.83 million vehicles in 2018, a 0.9% increase on a year earlier. (VW)
  • Reported preliminary 2018 revenue of €236 billion and an operating profit of €13.9 billion. Analysts were troubled that the firm’s cash balance had deteriorated. Despite VW’s continuing promises to overhaul efficiency, capex and R&D were both up in real terms, and as a percentage of revenue. (VW)

December

  • Reported a set of newly-discovered “abnormalities” with the upgraded emissions control software of 1.2 litre diesel engined cars to the German regulator. VW has stopped updating vehicles and hopes to find a resolution during January. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche says the Taycan is sold out in the US for a year if all reservations turn into firm orders and that the biggest cohort of buyers are defecting from Tesla. (CNET)
  • According to US sales representatives, the all-electric Porsche Taycan (formerly Mission E) will have three models, the base version will retail in “low $90,000” range, the 4S will have a “high $90,000” price tag whilst the range-topping Turbo will be “over $130,000”. (Green Car Reports)
  • According to Audi’s new chief, getting a CEO spot should be on more new year’s resolution lists. He claims the new job has helped him shed 10 kilos. (SZ)
  • Showed off a prototype charging station that uses the same batteries as MEB platform vehicles (either new, or more likely, used) to provide high capacity and fast charging, regardless of local infrastructure. The 360 kWh unit can provide charging rates of 100 kW. (VW)
  • VW’s initial analysis of EU CO2 target reductions of 30% by 2030 had reportedly settled on a figure of 1.2 million pure electric vehicles per year being needed across the group. The final figure of a 37.5% reduction has supposedly increased this by a further 600,000 units -- or seven additional vehicle lines. CEO Diess said that the company would still be able to achieve the tougher 2030 target but would have to revisit its footprint plan. (Handelsblatt)
  • Rumoured to be planning a one third reduction in manning levels at plants in Emden and Hanover over the next ten years as electric vehicle sales increase. VW is said to hope that natural attrition, early retirement and redeployment to other factories will be enough to meet the target. (FAZ)
  • The head of VW’s in-house self-driving unit, AID, has a “high opinion” of Waymo but thinks GM’s Cruise is “hyping a bit”. He says that 90% perception accuracy is now standard but things get tough at 95%. (The Verge)
  • Said to be planning to write off the investment in ride hailing provider Gett (VW’s stake is apparently only valued at €16 million versus the $300 million+ VW has given the business -- we shall see in the 2018 FY accounts). (Reuters)
  • Acquiring a majority 75.1% share in telematics firm WirelessCar. VW plans to use the company’s technology for vehicle to cloud data exchange in its forthcoming services. (VW)
  • Implemented a new executive pay scheme. There will be no personal performance bonus and incentives will be geared towards success of the entire group, rather than brands. There is also a clawback provision. (VW)
  • Porsche is recalling 74,585 Panameras to fix problems with the power steering. (Porsche)
  • Audi will show a concept next-generation in car entertainment at CES 2019. (Audi)
  • Moia’s CEO said the approval processes required to launch the ride hailing service in Hamburg and Hanover had been tedious and that without change, they were a risk to Germany’s competitive position. (FAZ)
  • Audi appointed the interim CEO on a permanent basis. (Audi)
  • VW’s employees in Germany are in a 70.8% good mood, up from 70.6% last year. They are concerned about the firm’s public perception but think it is a fantastic employer. (VW)
  • Has reportedly tasked the Seat brand with developing a small BEV to be sold to car sharing fleets. (Europa Press)
  • Will brand all driver assistance and automated driving technologies for VW vehicles as IQ.Drive. (VW)
  • Recalling about 6,000 vehicles because they have been built with non-standard parts, such as updated components that had not been fully approved at the time of sale. (Handelsblatt)
  • Increased its forecast for the “first wave” of MEB-platform sales from 10 million units to 15 million units. VW remains unclear about the timescale. (VW)
  • Having previously talked about 23 battery electric models for the VW brand by 2025, the company now talks of “around 20”. Since automotive OEMs tend to round up for PR purposes (e.g. 23 = “more than 20” or “almost 25”), this indicates that VW may have dropped some vehicles from the plan. (VW)
  • Targeting further profitability actions at the VW brand, with an expectation of at least 6% operating margin by 2022. VW said that the 2020 cost saving target had almost been achieved already and further savings are therefore being sought from the business. Amongst the improvements, VW are eliminating all powertrain combinations in the bottom quartile for customer demand. (VW)
  • Audi will spend €14 billion out of a planned €40 billion from 2019 to 2023 on electric vehicles, digitalization and autonomous driving. (VW)
  • VW might build some vehicles in US Ford plants rather than installing capacity for itself. (Reuters)
  • Executives said that working back from a final sale date for combustion engine only vehicles in 2040, VW was forecasting for there to be no new diesel and gasoline vehicle launches after the early 2030s, meaning that the final development cycle would begin in 2026. (Handelsblatt) Another executive said afterwards that the comments were about Europe and internal combustion engine development would continue for other markets. (Autocar)
  • Working towards CO2 neutral production of the all-electric ID vehicle range. Initially, VW will accomplish this through a combination of renewable methods and purchase of carbon offsets (e.g. tree planting). (Handelsblatt)
  • Production of the Audi A3 and Q2 began at VW’s joint venture plant in Algeria. (VW)

November

  • Audi released pictures of the electric drone concept is has been developing with Airbus. The drone carries a passenger pod which can be installed onto a car base so that passengers can take a trip that involves flying and driving without having to get out of the vehicle. At present the companies are testing a 1:4 scale model. (Audi)
  • VW’s head of HR said the brand expected electric cars to require 20% to 25% less productive labour and that there would not be a second “future pact” German labour agreement beyond 2025. (Handelsblatt)
  • Executives said VW was “100% deep in the process” of choosing a site in North America to build all-electric vehicles, although they might just end up selecting their existing Tennessee plant. (Reuters)
  • Setting up a charging scheme in the UK in partnership with supermarket group Tesco. The plan it to provide around 2,500 chargers in 600 locations. There will be a free 7 kW service and a pricier 50 kW offering. (BBC)
  • Said that via a reorganisation of media agencies it will improve “marketing efficiency” by 30% without increasing the budget and increase the share of spending on digital media to 50% of the total by 2020, up from 25% in 2015. (VW)
  • VW’s head of compliance said 2019 would be the most difficult for the carmaker’s legal team to manage because of the number of ongoing court cases and complexity. (FT)
  • Signed an agreement with JAC to form a joint venture that will produce and market SEAT cars in China. (VW)
  • Unveiled the Audi e-tron GT concept, previewing an A5-type vehicle that will be presented in 2020. (VW)
  • Reportedly settled a lawsuit brought by Broadcom alleging VW had infringed its IP. (Reuters)
  • CEO Diess does not believe that individual ownership is on its way out, saying “people will continue to be fascinated by driving”. (VW)
  • Porsche’s electric offerings will have material cost increases of between €6,000 to €10,000 compared to equivalent combustion engine cars, according to offer the record sources. In response, Porsche intends to enact a profit improvement plan to yield €750 million annually over the next eight years. (Bloomberg)
  • Complexity was such that, in 2017, although VW sold 84,000 Golfs in Germany, the largest group of identical vehicles numbered only 400. (VW)
  • Acquired a 49% stake in software developer Diconium. (VW)
  • Restructured the management of its operations in India to put Škoda executives in charge. (VW)
  • Trademarks filed by VW have led to suggestions that the ID range will be branded as ID 1, ID 2 etc rather than being given names as the concept vehicles -- which VW executives still refer to -- have. (Green Car Reports)
  • Confirmed the Audi e-tron SUV will be localised in China from 2020 onwards. (VW)
  • Recalling around 75,000 cars to fix problems with seatbelts. (BBC)
  • Announced a series of decisions taken under the latest planning round. VW committed to reduction in capital expenditure and R&D as a percent of revenues to 6% from 2020 onwards. CEO Diess is seeking a 30% improvement in productivity by 2025 saying that a chunk of this will come by increasing the number of multi-brand plants. (VW)
  • The Emden plant will become dedicated to electric vehicles and Hanover will convert “gradually”. Comments that the “main speciality” of Hanover will be the ID Buzz family of vehicles seem to confirm that Transport production is likely to move to a Ford plant. (VW)
  • The partnership with Ford “offers potential” for a profitable Amarok (pick-up truck) and “robust” SUVs. Whilst there are further joint projects that VW foresees, the company stressed that marketing and pricing (i.e. the sorts of things that would require a level of M&A) were out of the question. (VW)
  • Expects pure electric vehicles to be profitable, even in the first generation, and that VW Group’s economies of scale would make it the most profitable electric car manufacturer. (Reuters)
  • CEO Diess believes that Waymo are one to two years ahead in autonomous driving technology but that it is possible for VW to catch up. (VW)
  • Looking to build a new plant in Eastern Europe. (VW)
  • Gave employment guarantees lasting to 2028 to permanent workers at the three plants that will become dedicated electric vehicle factories but said temporary workers would have to move to other group locations if they wanted a permanent role. (VW)
  • Changed the management structure of the China business so that it reports straight into CEO Diess. (VW)
  • Said it could produce up to 50 million vehicles from the MEB platform over its lifetime, a statement that implies an upper end scenario of mass transition to pure electric vehicles since in September VW talked about 10 million vehicles from the “first wave”. (Reuters)
  • Announced a fourth battery supplier -- SK Innovation -- for MEB platform products. VW says the firm will supply all its needs for the US market and some of the European volume, which it will share with LG Chem and Samsung. VW says the four suppliers will collectively share around 150 GWh of capacity by 2025. (VW)
  • Unveiled the Tarok, a near-production car based pick-up destined for South American markets. (VW)
  • Having previously referred numerous times to a price target for its ID car that was comparable to an “equivalent” diesel, the company is reportedly planning an entry level BEV that will retail at under €20,000. (CNBC)
  • Reportedly planning to cease production of Passat in Germany by 2022 and manufacture electric cars at the Emden plant instead (having only recently moved Passat there). (Bloomberg)
  • Porsche Consulting published a “success formula” for cultural transformation. Since two of the steps are “decision making” and “risk taking”, could this be a bid for VW group’s much heralded transformation? (Porsche Consulting)
  • SEAT is going to start selling an electric scooter (a rebadged Segway model) that will retail at €599. (SEAT)

October

  • Reportedly working on a long-term plan that will transfer much of Audi’s research budget to collaborations and reduce the brand’s role in leading the development of new technologies such as autonomy. (Reuters)
  • Will operate a self-driving ride hailing service in Israel in partnership with Intel and Champion Motors. The project will start pilot operations in 2019 and aims to run a commercial service by 2022. (Intel)
  • VW’s CFO said the firm is open to sharing its MEB electric vehicle platform but remains focused on internal applications. He also said the firm wants access to a self-driving system and is “speaking with relevant players”, despite its tie-up with Aurora. (Reuters)
  • Being sued by chipmaker Broadcom for $1 billion over alleged patent infringement in VW’s navigation and entertainment systems. The suit asks a judge to suspend production of VW group vehicles. (Handelsblatt)
  • Bentley’s CEO said the brand has already made changes to its logistics operations ahead of Brexit and was considering longer than usual shutdowns at Christmas and Easter. He has recently changed the long-term plan to increase the amount of electrification under development. (Reuters)
  • CEO Diess said there was too much emotion in the debate about retrofitting German diesel-powered vehicles with additional hardware to improve emissions. (Handelsblatt)
  • VW’s Heycar used car sales platform is apparently growing faster than the targets it was set and has sold over 320,000 vehicles. (Handelsblatt)
  • VW is reportedly planning to produce batteries with SK Innovation and might collaborate with Waymo on ride hailing. The firm is said to be contemplating purchasing a 10% stake in Waymo for €12 billion. (Reuters)
  • VW is reducing its sales forecast for China according to the head of its local business unit. (Nikkei)
  • Unveiled the T-Cross, saying SUVs will make up 50% of VW brand sales by 2025. (VW)
  • Undertook a restructuring of the truck division so that the energy and powertrain portfolio stays with Volkswagen group and the truck and bus unit (Traton) can approach an IPO as a “pure” business unit. (VW)
  • Audi said that more than 95% of electric vehicle batteries could be recycled, in a laboratory. It will now develop a higher volume process and a way to re-use the recovered raw materials. (VW)
  • Agreed with its Algerian JV partner to produce Amarok pick-up trucks in the country. (VW)
  • VW and Ford are reportedly exploring in-depth sharing of autonomous driving technology. Ford already has a majority share in partner Argo AI whilst VW has partnered with Aurora but was apparently rebuffed in an informal takeover approach. Ford executives stressed that nothing was off the table. (Bloomberg)
  • Porsche suggested that it could charge US dealers between $300,000 to $400,000 each to partially offset some of the cost of superchargers the company proposes to install on their premises. (Automotive News)
  • Lamborghini’s boss said the firm is contemplating building a limited series super car following the example of the McLaren Senna and Aston Martin Valkyrie. (Autocar)
  • Unveiled an “extensive update” for the Audi R8. (Audi)
  • Porsche’s CFO said that if VW were to spin off its luxury brands, they could reach a collective valuation of between €60 billion and €70 billion but the company quickly rowed back on the comments. (CNBC)
  • CEO Diess told suppliers there would be a €50 billion to €60 billion market for battery cells in Europe soon, and the opportunity could even rise to €100 billion. He also believes that German carmakers have a 50:50 chance of retaining their competitive advance in 10 years. Diess once again took the opportunity to complain about CO2 regulations in Europe and said that with the current mix of electricity generation in Germany (lots of coal), electric vehicles were not that clean. (VW)
  • Announced a new factory in Anting, China in partnership with SAIC that will be purpose built to produce electric cars on the MEB platform. The plant will produce up to 300,000 units annually. (VW)
  • Audi will pay a €800 million fine to German prosecutors for its part in the diesel scandal. (Audi)
  • Launched a big marketing program for diesel owners in Germany, with discounts of between €4,000 to €8,000 depending on the combination of new and traded in vehicle. VW is also offering incremental discounts to buyers in 14 areas with the worst emissions. (VW)
  • The Audi etron battery electric SUV is suffering launch delays of several weeks caused by software issues. (Reuters)
  • Porsche wants to price the Taycan (Mission E as was) between the Cayenne and Panamera, indicating a starting price around €80,000. There could be performance versions priced as high as €200,000, with a Taycan Turbo S nameplate mooted -- confusing since there wouldn’t be a turbo in sight. (Automotive News)
  • To nobody’s surprise, Porsche confirmed the Mission E Cross Turismo had been approved for series production. The 300 jobs the firm says will be created indicate and expected annual volume of around 5,000 units. (Porsche)
  • Executives said Porsche would have an all-electric “big SUV” by 2022, thought to be a new vehicle in the line-up beyond the Taycan Cross Turismo since “the Taycan derivatives have already been showcased”. (Autocar)
  • Sharing the development costs for the forthcoming PPE platform between Porsche and Audi will reportedly save both brands 30% versus going it alone. (Porsche)
  • Started production of the SEAT Tarraco at the Wolfsburg plant. (VW)
  • Audi says it will implement a new type of panel quality checking system in its press shops. It will replace a camera system that uses image recognition specific to the type of panel being made with one that can recognise defects in all kinds of parts. Although Audi had to spend lots of time teaching the new system, the company says it will be worth it when it can introduce new parts with less effort. (Audi)
  • Škoda’s next c-car will be called the Scala, with the Rapid nameplate being retired. (Autocar)
  • CEO Diess said a 40% reduction in CO2 levels by 2030 would mean losing “around a quarter of the jobs in our factories” -- 100,000 by his estimate. He wants a slower transition to full electric vehicles to avoid a “painful revolution”. (VW)
  • VW Group sales in Q3 were 2,611,300 units, a drop of (1.5)% on the prior year. (VW)
  • Having a 20-day shutdown at its Taubaté, Brazil plant because of weak Argentinian sales. (Reuters)
  • Audi’s interim CEO is lobbying to have the job on a permanent basis. (Handelsblatt)
  • Launched production of the Audi A1 at SEAT’s Martorell plant. (VW)
  • Škoda’s CEO said the brand needs a further 400,000 units of annual capacity. (Times of India)
  • Bugatti CEO said the brand “is ready for more” and might launch a crossover or SUV. (Bloomberg)
  • Porsche will produce 1,948 examples of the 911 Speedster shown in Paris, with sales starting in 2019. (Autocar)
  • It wasn’t an April fools’ joke. VW T-Roc cabriolets have been spotted out and about. (Autocar)

Q3 2018 Financial Results

  • Released financial results for Q3 2018. Although vehicle sales fell (3.6)% versus a year earlier to 2,548,000 units, revenues improved 0.9% to €55.2 billion. Operating profit before special items of €3.5 billion was down (18.6)%, although profits were up once special items were included. VW said it was almost on track to meet full-year group projections, if you ignored special items. (VW)

September

  • Announced a productivity improvement plan, seeking 30% better utilisation by 2025. The firm says there is €2.6 billion in “efficiency potential”. Explaining the targets to senior production managers, VW said €1.5 billion could be cut through systemic standardisation. (VW)
  • VW will base its connected car data platform on Microsoft’s Azure. The two companies will partner to build apps that VW’s cars can use and VW will build a development centre near Microsoft in the USA. (VW)
  • The CEO of Traton, VW’s truck division, said an IPO would not take place “at any cost”, citing international trade conditions as an issue that could scupper the plan. He also said that shared powertrain was the focus of sharing efforts since it is 60% of the vehicle’s value (including ancillaries such as exhaust, axles and electronics). He also discussed the balance between sharing the dealerships used for VW vans (more like the truck division customers) and developing the vehicles (more like the car division activities). (Handelsblatt)
  • Off the record sources said VW would support retrofitting of older diesel vehicles in Germany. (Reuters)
  • Audi confirmed the E-tron GT will have 350kW charging capability. (Inside EVs)
  • Contracted Unipart to run the logistics for its UK parts operations. About 450 employees will transfer to Unipart as a result of the agreement. (Motor Trader)
  • Claimed to have developed a new prototype fuel cell that uses far less precious metals. (VW)
  • Lamborghini said India will be one of the top ten markets for luxury sportscars within five years. (Times of India)
  • Ending the Audi on demand service in San Francisco directing customers to Silvercar instead. (Auto Rental News)
  • Reportedly planning a Maybach fighting super Audi A8 under the Hoch sub-brand. (Autocar)
  • Audi will work with Valtech to create a design team that will develop products and services for autonomous vehicles. The team will contain over 200 people. (Challenges)
  • Said it is on track to achieve “capital market readiness” at its truck division (recently named TRATON) by the end of 2018 and investment banking experts will soon be retained for a “potential” IPO. (VW)
  • Unveiled the production version of the e-tron SUV. Some commentators were disappointed by the car’s performance figures compared to Tesla’s Model X, given the starting price of €80,000. (Audi)
  • Pulling out of Iran, according to a US government official. (Bloomberg)
  • Audi launched a pilot subscription service priced at $1,395 per month. Subscribers can change vehicle up to twice per month and choose from a range of A4, A5 cabriolet, Q5 and Q7. In addition, they receive 48 hours of discounted rental (Audi say it is free but taxes and fees are excluded) through Audi’s Silvercar each month. (Audi)
  • Appears to have slightly altered its outlook on ID pricing to be equal to a “comparable” diesel, implying the vehicle could be more costly than initial expectations if the firm argues the comparator should be high performance. The downside is that a sales target of over 100,000 units is high in the context of high performance diesels. (VW)
  • Audi’s imprisoned CEO will reportedly be removed from his post at a meeting on September 28th. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche invested in holographic display maker WayRay as part of an $80 million funding round. (WayRay)
  • The EU launched a formal investigation into whether BMW, Daimler and VW colluded to restrict competition in emissions technology. (Economic Times of India)
  • Porsche released details of the modular units that make up its fast charging solution, and will presumably be used by the Ionity charging network. (Porsche)
  • Seat executives said the brand would have two electric only models by 2021 and two PHEVs by 2020. (Autocar)
  • Created a training program to develop software competences in-house and will run its first class in 2019. (VW)
  • SEAT launched the Tarraco large SUV, with sales set for early 2019. (VW)
  • Showed the ID Buzz van. Although billed as a concept, sources say it could be in production by 2021. (VW)
  • TRATON signed a cooperation agreement with Hino that will create a shared procurement arm and see the two partners jointly develop electrified powertrain. (VW)
  • Porsche said it had given up on diesel engines for good. Although there are no cars currently on sale with diesel engines, Porsche had implied it would offer some in future. Now it won’t. (Porsche)
  • CEO Diess and the head of the works council gave a joint interview to the in-house magazine. They agreed that complexity must be reduced by having fewer buildable combinations and that more needs to be done to improve VW Groups’s competence in software development, which they attributed to excessive outsourcing (up to 80% of the workload) previously. Diess said a margin of 7% - 8% was required to make the business “crisis proof” and that the cost of introducing electric vehicles will be higher than expected. (VW)
  • Hopes to sell 10 million units over the lifetime of the MEB platform. (VW)
  • Rumoured to be exploring alliances with other companies, including fellow OEMs, with the aim of creating a consistent set of technical standards for self-driving vehicles. A VW Group management board review could take place in the coming weeks. (Automotive News)
  • Added down days in the Wolfsburg factory’s Golf production schedule, apparently because of falling sales rather than WLTP problems. Tiguan production may be replaced as a partial offset. (Handelsblatt)
  • Sold a 20% stake in VW’s used car sales platform HeyCar to Daimler. (VW)
  • VW’s trucking division believes autonomous vehicles will catch on more quickly in the US and China because they think the regulators are more open to change. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche launched two short term rental programs on a pilot basis in the US. Porsche Drive is a daily rental offering that competes with similar services from existing major daily rental firms. At a cost of $2,909 for a week’s 911 rental, the pro-rata cost is significantly higher than the monthly “Passport” offering. Porsche Host is a peer-to-peer offering that appears to be a sub-branding of vehicles already available via the Turo app. (Porsche)
  • Ceasing production of the Beetle in 2019. (Reuters)
  • Audi owners in Europe will be able to use a single payment service, dubbed e-tron charging service, to access charging points from 220 providers across Europe. (Audi)
  • Škoda’s unions issued a statement saying it had rejected moves to produce the Superb in Germany. (Times of India)
  • VW Group has signed new terms with dealers and importers in almost all European markets. (VW)
  • VW’s CFO didn’t rule out an IPO for the group’s luxury car brands, calling it a “legitimate question” but one that was not currently a priority. (Bloomberg)
  • The investor lawsuit seeking €9 billion in damages for diesel scandal-related losses goes to trial next week. (Reuters)
  • Self-registered a huge number of vehicles in Germany ahead of WLTP rules coming into force. (Reuters)
  • Porsche and Schuler created a joint venture for a smart press shop specialising in aluminium. (Porsche)
  • Škoda concluded a new contract with German dealers. (Autohaus)
  • Launched the Atlas SUV in Middle Eastern markets, badged at the Teramont. (VW)

August

  • Looking at introducing a mandate for managers to choose plug-in or full electric vehicles on the company car scheme with a view to substantial numbers of electrified cars entering the 20,000-strong fleet from 2019 onwards. One alternative is charging managers choosing non-electrified vehicles more. (Handelsblatt)
  • Leaked documents reportedly show that all VW automatic transmissions have special test-only shift programs, meaning that gasoline vehicles could also have unrepresentative test results. The real world impact was not quantified and VW’s PR team seemed unconcerned by the rumour. (Handelsblatt)
  • Will build an assembly plant in Ghana and increase the capacity of existing operations in Nigeria. (VW)
  • Ford and VW’s collaboration -- seemingly dubbed Project Cyclone -- has worried employees at VW’s Hannover factory who do not want to have to compete with Ford’s Turkish operations for supply contracts. The project scope is reportedly currently covering several sizes of commercial vehicle and light pick-up trucks (Ranger / Amarok). VW insisted that no firm commercial decisions had been taken. (Handelsblatt)
  • Buyers seeking to leapfrog the waiting list for the Bugatti Chiron now have another option, a 1,000,000 piece kit developed with Lego. Performance is reduced with a top speed of only 20 km/h but the plus side is that no glue is required so the blocks can be reused for another project if you tire of it. (Engadget)
  • Porsche’s rule of thumb is that battery energy density increases 5% each year and the company is working on charging at a higher rate than the already announced 350 kW. (Porsche)
  • Škoda executives said the brand was considering building a new car plant and that the UK was one of the possible sites, albeit a rank outsider. (Autocar)
  • Said that WLTP certification for VW brand cars will be completed by the end of September, however only half of the models made the cut-off to continue sales without interruptions. (The Sun)
  • Production of the Audi e-tron SUV has started even though the car has yet to be (officially) unveiled. (VW)
  • Opened a new plant in Tianjin, China with annual capacity of 300,000 units to produce VW and Audi badged SUVs with joint venture partner FAW. (VW)
  • CEO Diess gave a wide-ranging interview in which he called the level of change necessary to be competitive in software “exhausting” but expressed confidence that VW could hold its own against the likes of Google and Apple. He also believes that VW’s experience with the eGolf has shown strong demand for a 300km real world range car at a €30,000 price point and cautioned against viewing the electric car in isolation as an environmental benefit, citing claimed equivalent 600 g per km of CO2 in Germany (against a sub-130g fleet average target). Diess suggested a working assumption of 2025 battery costs of €5,000 to €6,000, implying the company expects costs of €85 to €100 per kWh by that time. (Handelsblatt)
  • VW’s independent auditor of emissions protocol complained to the company about the level of cooperation it was getting from executives and received assurances that transparency will improve. (Reuters)
  • Reportedly tried to buy self-driving software developer, and partner, Aurora but was rebuffed because the firm wanted the freedom to work with multiple carmakers. (Bloomberg)
  • Will spend €3.5 billion on forthcoming IT initiatives up to 2025, with new cooperations and acquisitions planned in the “near future”. VW is simplifying its software design to reduce the number of control units in a vehicle from around 70 to “just a few”. (VW)
  • Audi showed an all-electric sports car concept called PB18, potentially a precursor to the next generation R8. (Audi)
  • Reportedly looking at a deal sell a 20% stake in online used car platform HeyCar to Daimler. (Handelsblatt)
  • VW was reportedly one of the companies prepared to invest in a bid to take Tesla private. (WSJ)
  • MAN truck announced a series of efficiency initiatives, including ending one model line and selling the factory that built it. (MAN)
  • Launched a new all-electric car sharing scheme called We Share which will begin operations in the middle of 2019 in Berlin and then expand to other European and US cities. (VW)
  • Unsealed court documents suggested CEO Diess knew about the diesel scandal for a couple of months before the company’s revelation of the problems, however the company defended this saying it was normal for executives to have discussed the matter before public disclosure and that at the time, executives hadn’t realised the extent of the problem. (Reuters)
  • Bentley’s boss implied that his medium-term volume goal is 15,000 units annually. (Autocar)
  • Works council boss Bernd Osterloh said that German plants should be fully utilised before new capacity is built in the VW network, and is focused on finding new work for Emden. He also called the views of those saying there is no need for German battery production “ignorant” because “40% of the value of the car will be the battery”. (WAZ)
  • Said that it had improved the company’s process for whistle-blowers and there were now around 70 to 80 reports made each month, of which “a relatively small number” turn out to be suspicious conduct. (VW)
  • Agreed a two year pay deal for workers in Mexico; 5.5% now and inflation plus 2% in 2019. (Reuters)
  • VW’s UK sales operation was hampered by a protest of environmental activists and health workers that blockaded the entrance to the building. (The Guardian)
  • VW’s German workers are outraged by a change in the tomato ketchup in staff canteens. The new recipe apparently has less fat and sugar but more tomato; the impact on productivity has not been publicly revealed. (WAZ)
  • VW’s credit company trumpeted its success in selling bonds in euros, Russian roubles and pounds, saying that euro and pound issues were more than three times oversubscribed, despite the low interest payments. (VW)
  • Bugatti said the yet-to-be-revealed Divo model will not be track-only. (Autocar)
  • Has around 300 employees engaged on various projects relating to blockchain use in cars. (VW)
  • May have to recall PHEVs and BEVs due to high levels of cadmium in the charging units. (WirtschaftsWoche)
  • Said WLTP will result in around €(1) billion of non-recurring profit reduction in 2018, and that in partial response to the new regulations, several portfolio trimming measures are underway, with reductions of 30% in VW Golf and Audi offerings being cited as examples. (Yahoo Finance)
  • VW’s performance division head said the brand wants to introduce performance versions of its forthcoming electric vehicles but hasn’t yet decided which vehicle is most suitable or what the product characteristics should be. (Autocar)
  • Announced a new COO for the VW brand. (VW)
  • Former CEO Martin Winterkorn may have been aware of the diesel scandal in 2007, if leaked witness testimony is to be believed. (Der Spiegel)
  • CEO Diess commented that synergies between motorbikes and cars were “not much, probably the same as between trucks and cars”, and “wouldn’t exclude” an independent future for the Ducati brand. (Bloomberg)

July

  • Announced the recruitment of BMW’s head of purchasing; he is expected to become the new CEO of Audi. (VW)
  • Reportedly hired thousands of car parking spaces to park cars that will be held for sale until WLTP certification is completed. (Reuters)
  • Showed the new Audi Q3, saying the car will be in European dealers by November 2018. The vehicle boasts a removable parcel shelf that can be stowed in the boot floor rather than having to be taken out of the car. (Audi)
  • Started production of SEAT Arona and Leon in Algeria. (SEAT)
  • Porsche invested in rewards start-up Miles. (Porsche)
  • Audi’s new electric motor plant in Hungary has a capacity of 400 electric axle motors per day on a one shift pattern and will soon move to three shifts. (Audi)
  • New CEO Diess is reportedly setting elevated internal profit objectives. Audi has been told to achieve a return on sales of 12% and Porsche needs to maintain a level of 15%, with Diess pushing back on complaints that the brand cannot contain the costs of electrification in its business plan. (Manager Magazin)
  • Reducing production in Brazil for a month, affecting around 1,000 factory workers. (Reuters)
  • Executives said a fourth Lamborghini model was unlikely before 2024. (Autocar)
  • Will localise production of the ID Buzz and ID Crozz in the USA. (Autocar)
  • Škoda invested in app-based AI developer Anagog. Porsche already has a stake in the company. (VW)
  • Appointed the head of strategy to lead the VW commercial vehicle brand. (VW)
  • Starting an all-electric car sharing service called WE from 2019 in Germany and internationally in 2020. The press release implied that scooters will become a part of the service offering. (VW)
  • Announced a series of moves aimed at making the components business more arms-length from the vehicle making parts of the group. (VW)
  • Scania stopped production of V8 engines due to a strike at a castings supplier. (Scania)
  • Lost a case preventing German prosecutors from reading the previously withheld investigation into the diesel scandal performed by law firm Jones Day. (Reuters)

Q2 2018 Financial Results

  • Reported group financial results for Q2 2018. Revenue of €61.1 billion was up 3.4% on a year-over-year basis whilst operating profit before special items of €5.58 billion rose 22.7% YoY, however special items of €(1.6) billion meant that the net operating profit was lower than the prior year. (VW)
  • VW Group delivered 2,839,200 vehicles in Q2 2018, an increase of 6.7% over the same period in 2017. (VW)

June

  • Saw a final judgement in a case brought by minority shareholders in MAN over the company’s acquisition by VW Group. They will be offered a choice of a higher purchase price than originally offered or a dividend. (VW)
  • Completed the transition of the truck division into a distinct legal entity. (VW)
  • Audi partnered with Cognata to work on simulation of autonomous vehicles. (TechCrunch)
  • The launch event for the Audi e-tron SUV has been delayed, it isn’t clear whether this will affect the timing for production and sales. (Autocar)
  • Launched production in Rwanda. (VW)
  • Following the arrest of Audi’s CEO, VW’s board agreed to “temporarily” release him from his duties and Audi’s head of marketing and sales has taken on his responsibilities on an interim basis. (VW)
  • The truck and bus division is to be renamed Traton Group, in a step VW says prepares the division for “capital market readiness”. (VW)
  • Porsche purchased a 10% stake in Croatian electric sports car builder and component supplier Rimac. (VW)
  • Will increase the capacity of the FAW-VW Foshan plant to 600,000 units annually. (VW)
  • Announced a new regional reporting structure where different brands will take responsibility for coordinating the Group’s approach. VW will lead in the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa, SEAT will be responsible in North Africa, Audi will cover the Middle East and Asia Pacific except China, Škoda will be responsible for Russia and India. China is everyone’s responsibility and Europe wasn’t mentioned at all. (VW)
  • Audi is part of a consortium intending to test air taxis in Ingolstadt, Germany (Audi’s home town). (Audi)
  • Invested $100 million in solid state battery developer QuantumScape and formed a JV with the intent of mass producing solid state batteries by 2025. (VW)
  • Hyundai and Audi will jointly develop fuel cell technologies. Affiliates such as KIA and VW will have access to any benefits from the agreement. Hyundai implied that they had superior experience and technology to Audi, but that the potential business for Hyundai Mobis was a major factor in the partnership. (Hyundai)
  • A judge in one of the continuing cases into the Porsche acquisition of VW shares said investors could take action against VW majority shareholder Porsche SE, in addition to VW. (Reuters)
  • Ford and VW are exploring potential collaboration on a range of topics relating to commercial vehicles but stressed that equity arrangements and cross-ownership stakes were not under discussion. (VW)
  • Fined €1 billion by prosecutors in Germany over its role in the diesel crisis. There were two elements: an actual fine of €5 million, and a “disgorgement of economic benefits” of €995 million. (VW)
  • Held a future mobility day where a range of technologies were shown to investors and media. (VW)
  • Gave a series of presentations at the CEBIT show, of potential interest are: VW’s procurement bot and the way the company is thinking about the tiers of value in autonomous vehicles. VW showed an ItalDesign-badged flexible autonomous platform with pods that could be swapped over but this appeared to be aimed at pods that could go on land or sky rather than re-using the road-going platform. (VW)
  • Audi’s CEO was named a suspect in the German investigation into the diesel scandal and had his home raided. During the week, VW’s board debated a response but took no action. He was subsequently arrested. (Detroit News)
  • Škoda is reportedly investigating the use of an outside contract manufacturer to increase capacity. (Reuters)
  • Porsche’s consulting company said it would increase staff by about 20% and open two new offices. (Porsche)
  • Audi will offer e-tron owners an at-home package of solar charging, battery storage and vehicle charging in partnership with two specialists. (Audi)
  • Audi will continue to use Ballard to supply fuel cell stacks for development vehicles until at least August 2022. The combined development services and component contract is worth between $62 million - $100 million. (Ballard)
  • Porsche announced the program previously known as Mission E will be called the Taycan. (Porsche)
  • Audi unveiled the new Q8, a large three seat SUV. (Audi)
  • VW will have to take production downtime in the third quarter of 2018 because it has not certified all vehicles under WLTP ahead of the cut-off date. (VW)
  • Participated in the $80 million fund raising round for Gett. (FINSMES)

May

  • The majority shareholder in Russian JV partner GAZ may sell some of their stake. (Bloomberg)
  • Confirmed the Audi eTron will have video cameras instead of wing mirrors, with the output displayed on cabins in the vehicle. Although the brand pointed to the aerodynamic advantages, owners might bear in mind criticism of the VW XL1, where a similar configuration was said to be unintuitive. Happily, on the eTron, its just an option. (Audi)
  • VW’s US dealers will start assisting service technicians on tricky jobs using a pair of glasses with a camera and an earpiece. A deskbound super expert can tell the technician what to do, and even project images onto a small screen in the technician’s eyeline. For a clearer understanding, watch the movie “Spy”. (Faconauto)
  • Released a £118,688 Škoda Superb estate that is blast resistant. (Autocar)
  • Seat’s chief executive said the brand’s new SUV was bring built at a VW plant because a separate assembly line could not be justified with annual volumes below 150,000 vehicles. He also believes that diesel engines have no future in city cars. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche recalled around 2,000 wooden cars sold in North America because the wheels might fall off. (Porsche)
  • Said it would “probably not” implement WLTP for all vehicles on sale by the cut-off with the result that some vehicles would be “temporarily unavailable” and production could be disrupted. (VW)
  • Investigating “irregularities” in the homologation of VW Golfs sold in Ukraine recently. (VW)
  • Porsche recalled 918 Spyders to fix issues with corrosion in the suspension. (Bloomberg)
  • The VW brand confirmed that it won’t attend the Paris motor show this year. (Reuters)
  • Started production of I3 gasoline engines at its Hungary engine plant. (VW)
  • Audi is targeting €1 billion in operating profit annually from digital services by 2025. The brand also expects the refreshed A7 and A8, along with Q8 and eTron SUVs to increase large car sales by 50% by 2022. (Audi)
  • Recalling 2018 model year Polo small cars to correct problems with rear seat belts. (VW). The same problem also affects SEAT Ibiza and Arona models. (SEAT)
  • Audi announced “irregularities” in the engine management software of V6 diesel engines. The company has halted sales of new vehicles and the circa 60,000 cars in private hands will receive an as-yet-undetermined upgrade. (Audi)
  • The head of the Porsche SE board said in an interview that the VW Works Council should have a say in issues about employees but should not claim to co-manage the business. (Stern)
  • New VW Group CEO Diess reportedly met with US diesel scandal investigators shortly before the indictment of former CEO Martin Winterkorn was issued, leading to speculation that he could have provided evidence that implicated Winterkorn. (Reuters)
  • New CEO Deiss said VW Group is still looking at the disposal of non-core assets, name-checking Ducati, Renk and MAN Diesel and Turbo as the targets of “future perspectives”. (Reuters)
  • Reportedly working on an alliance with Didi Chuxing that would see VW run part of the fleet and develop purpose-built vehicles. (Reuters)
  • The Škoda Karoq will be assembled at the former Harmann factory in Osnabrück, Germany. Škoda officials were keen to stress that the main production source will continue to be in the Czech Republic. (Manager Magazin)
  • Bentley’s new CEO said the company needed to improve its strategy for connected, autonomous and electrified technologies and that he is revamping the cycle plan to include more electrification. He forecasts hybrid versions of the Bentayga will account for 10% of sales and the next car to get a similar treatment is “probably” the Flying Spur, with a decision to be made in the next six months. He suggested the brand would have a pure electric within the next five years. (Autocar)
  • VW publicised its new “Lydia” pick-to-voice system, an alternative to established pick-to-light error proofing. The benefits are that less physical infrastructure is necessary since the production orders are relayed by a headset and wi-fi. The computerised voice chooses cute names for parts: apple and mango replace long part numbers. (VW)
  • The US Department of Justice charged former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn over the diesel scandal. The charges involve conspiracy and wire fraud. (US Dept of Justice)
  • Said that the transition to WLTP standards in Europe was the biggest single risk to its 2018 forecast. (VW)
  • Perhaps in a deliberate stab at Tesla, Porsche detailed some of its in-process measurement techniques, noting the number of measurement points and issues such as the effect of the paint process on car body dimensions. (Porsche)
  • Porsche family scion Wolfgang Porsche said he viewed nephew Ferdinand Oliver Porsche as his likely replacement at the head of Porsche SE (large shareholder in VW Group). (Manager Magazin)

April

  • Audi is recalling 1.2 million cars globally to correct problems with coolant pumps. (Economic Times of India)
  • Porsche’s Chinese market sales could reach 50% PHEV and BEV by 2025 according to sales executives. (Bloomberg)
  • Introduced three new engines at a technical symposium: a 48V gasoline, a new natural gas powered engine and a mild hybrid diesel equipped with a 12V system. (VW)
  • VW’s head of electrification said that the ID’s initial production volume will be 100,000 units per year when it launches in 2019 -- the company has already said it will install capacity for around 330,000 vehicles for the ID range from 2020 onwards. (Ecomento)
  • Announced an electrified vehicle brand for the Chinese market called SOL, in collaboration with joint venture partner JAC. The first product is a BEV SUV with a range of more than 300km. (VW)
  • VW will only be allowed to increase their fleet of Moia vehicles in Hamburg from 500 to 1,000 if they can show that public transport has not been disrupted. (Manager Magazin)
  • Audi announced a collaboration with Airbus’s Voom helicopter taxi business to offer a seamless door to door urban mobility service for the exceptionally well-heeled in traffic hotspots such as Mexico City. (Usine Nouvelle)
  • VW’s works council chief criticised the company’s high rate of development spending saying, “sometimes it is almost like an internal competition to see who can spend the most”. Whilst he welcomed the appointment of new CEO Diess, he also appears determined to reopen the debate on VW producing its own battery cells. (Manager Magazin)
  • The Truck division CFO said taking over US company Navistar “would make sense at some point”. (Reuters)
  • Announced it would grow its software development operation in Lisbon, Portugal to 300 people. (VW)
  • Porsche offices were raided as Dieselgate refused to fade away -- several top managers were apparently the focus of the investigation. (Manager Magazin)
  • Porsche announced that it was doubling the number of bees at its Liepzig site, allowing a 250% increase in honey production, to 1,000kg annually, apparently spurred by the high sales rate of its original harvest and the potential as a hedge against the decline in diesel sales. (Porsche)
  • Launched a service called Porsche Flex in Italy that allows owners to choose a combination of vehicles that can be used on set days of the week. (Porsche)
  • Announced a new CEO and a series of organisational changes. VW Brand head Herbert Diess becomes group CEO whilst keeping his VW brand responsibilities. The company will have six business areas, plus China and new brand groups have been created Volume (VW, SEAT and Škoda); Premium (Audi, Ducati and Lamborghini); Super Premium (Porsche, Bentley and Bugatti); Truck & Bus. In addition, VW’s components division will be merged with the purchasing organisation. The company will also shortly appoint a COO. (VW)
  • VW Trucks and Hino Motors (in which Toyota has a controlling stake) concluded a strategic cooperation agreement covering new technologies and procurement. (VW)
  • SEAT has been chosen at the VW Group’s centre of excellence for CNG engines, seeing the technology as a potential offset to reduced sales of diesel cars. (VW)
  • New CEO Diess said that if sanctions on Russian companies affected JV partner GAZ then the company would review the situation but not “call into question our commitment” to Russia. (Economic Times of India)
  • Porsche invested in Anagog, a company that makes in-app data analysis tools so users do not have to send personal data to the cloud. (Porsche)
  • Not planning to replace the VW Beetle at the end of the current product cycle saying a “new new new Beetle” would be too much of a stretch. (Forbes)
  • Terminated all contracts with Prevent Group, who are now threatening legal action. Prevent were the source of substantial misery for VW when they unilaterally stopped shipments of several critical components. (Handelsblatt)
  • Škoda employees have negotiated a 12% pay increase in their latest 1 year contract. (Handelsblatt)

Q1 2018 Earnings

  • Announced financial results for Q1 2018. Although sales rose by about 6.1%, revenue was up only 3.6% and operating income of €4.2 billion was down (3.6)% on a year-over-year basis. The company blamed a change in accounting rules for derivatives for the profit drop. (VW)
  • VW Group sold 2.7 million units in Q1 2018, an increase of 7.4% on a year-over-year basis. (VW)

March

  • Lamborghini’s boss said the company would produce 7,500 cars in 2019 and that it might launch an additional model to take annual sales to nearer 10,000 units, but not until around 2025. (Motoring)
  • Porsche executives said that they expect charging networks to start returning a profit after three years. (Electrek)
  • VW will guarantee that German buyers of new or nearly-new VW diesels can exchange for something else if the vehicle has its access restricted around the owner’s home or work address in the next three years. (VW)
  • A potential scandal looms, with rumours the CEO was part of a 2013 hit-and-run in South Africa. (Der Spiegel)
  • VW will launch a five-seat version of its US market specific Atlas SUV, saying that the vehicle represented an investment of around $340 million. (VW)
  • VW Group’s CEO said that the company’s top management team needed to become more feminine, younger and more international. (Handelsblatt)
  • There was reportedly boardroom unrest with some board members believing that the discussion had been structured to reduce their oversight. Answering accusations that he and other executives were overpaid, VW’s CEO it was justified in part because he has “one foot in jail” because of responsibility for the company’s actions -- a slightly odd statement given that the only person to face jail over the diesel scandal was a non-C suite executive. (Der Spiegel)
  • Audi’s CEO wants the brand to sell 200,000 all-electric vehicles by 2021 and is reportedly contemplating actions as radical as only offering the next generation TT and A8 as BEVs. (Manager Magazin)
  • Porsche employees will get a bonus of over near €9,600 due to the company’s record performance in 2017 (and a token of appreciation for reaching 70 years as a going concern. (Porsche)
  • VW’s financial services division said that although profits were up, there is a potential residual value drop of 500 euros per vehicle on diesel-engined vehicles. (Handelsblatt)
  • SEAT released its annual report an confirmed the brands modest electrification plans-- one BEV (thought to be SEAT’s version of the e-Up city car) and a hybrid version of the Leon will appear in 2020. (SEAT)
  • Said that it would have 16 factories producing electric vehicles by 2022 and that the company had awarded €20 billion of contracts for batteries. From 2019 the company will launch a new electric vehicle “virtually every month”. (VW)
  • Audi showed teaser images of the e-tron GT, Audi’s third all-electric car to be launched in 2020 (after e-tron SUV and sportback models). (Audi)
  • Porsche said that it will make a total investment of €1 billion in the Mission E factory and will spend €6 billion on electromobility by 2022. (Porsche)
  • The VW brand said it aims to break even in all regions by 2020 and that 9,350 people have signed early retirement contracts and that fleet CO2 targets “remain a major challenge”. By the end of 2020, VW will only produce electric vehicles at its Zwickau plant, forecasting a production rate of up to 330,000 vehicles per year, re-iterating that the ID “will cost just as much as a comparable diesel model”. (VW)
  • Lamborghini executives said that a move to hybrids might see the brand get rid of turbos and sell naturally aspirated engines that were closer to its DNA. (Autocar)
  • VW and Audi dealers in Germany fear a cull in the rural network is coming after many dealers have been told that their contracts are unlikely to be renewed beyond 2023 and access to models is being restricted. (Autohaus)
  • Idled production of the US model Passat for two weeks due to declining demand, some of the capacity will be switched to the Atlas SUV. (Times Free Press)
  • VW’s inhouse sausage factory reported a (6)% decline in shipments for 2017 on a year over year basis compared with 2016, falling to 6.8 million currywursts. The plant’s 30 employees appeared unperturbed. (VW)
  • Porsche unveiled the Mission E Cross Turismo concept, following on from previous executive statements about the possibility of an expanded line-up based on Mission E. (Porsche)
  • Said it will manufacture ID Vizzion by 2022 “at the latest” as the top model in the ID portfolio. (VW on YouTube)
  • Has reportedly decided to make the truck business, containing Scania and MAN, into a separate unit that can be listed as an independent entity on the stock market. (Manager Magazin)
  • Showed newest version of Sedric from MOIA and a MOIA-branded vehicle that looked suspiciously like an electric VW e-Crafter van. No prizes for guessing which is likely to make production first. (VW)
  • Bentley “would like” their next car after the GT to have Level 4 autonomous capability. (Wired)
  • Audi said that the new A6 will feature 48V hybridisation on all vehicles. The ICE-assistance will save fuel by allowing extended engine-off operation (while the vehicle is in motion rather than traditional stop/start). Audi claims a fuel economy benefit of around 10% for the technology (note: Magna says that on systems with greater capabilities than the Audi one, 18% is possible). (Audi)
  • Porsche executives hinted at a flying car program. (Reuters)
  • Will offer a digital key for VW customers, starting with the VW Passat in late 2018. The owner will be able to authorise up to 15 other people who can share the vehicle using a smartphone app -- they can also decide whether to grant the ability to drive the vehicle or only to unlock the doors. (VW)
  • Porsche wants all US dealerships to have 800V / 350 kW chargers. (Ars Technica)

February

  • Porsche said that it has already ceased production of diesel versions of the Macan and that sales of diesel Panamera would soon stop -- customers are opting for hybrids in large numbers. Although it production of diesel engines for the current model Cayenne has stopped, it seems the successor vehicle will have diesel. (UN Climate Action Plan)
  • Concluded pay negotiations with German unions, agreeing to a 4.3% rise and a new bonus scheme that can be taken as cash or additional leave. The agreement lasts until April 2020. (VW)
  • Škoda unions are said to be demanding a 15% pay rise over 27 months, threatening “unlimited” strikes until agreement is reached. (Handelsblatt)
  • Will invest €80 million in a cabriolet version of the T-Roc SUV. Sales will start in 2020 and the company aims to sell 20,000 units each year. Good luck. (VW)
  • Porsche said that it is working on blockchain technology for application in vehicles. Alongside the expected talk of new business models, Porsche mentioned some additional benefits -- a distributed ledger can speed up verification of commands, in Porsche’s case reducing the time it takes for a door opening command to activate. (Porsche)
  • Porsche issued a press release championing EVs, in particular the brand drew attention to the acceleration and cornering dynamics that come with good execution. (Porsche)
  • SEAT acquired Madrid car sharing company Respiro and its fleet of 200 cars. (SEAT)
  • There could be strikes at Škoda after unions rejected the company’s offer of a pay rise in line with inflation. (Reuters)
  • VW said that it is producing powertrain units for electric cars (e-up!, e-Golf and Passat GTE) at a rate of around 200 per day. (VW)
    • Implication: Although almost negligible in the overall scheme of things, this suggests an annual run-rate of almost 50,000 units per year -- enough to move VW into the middle of the EV pack.
  • German prosecutors investigating manipulation of diesel emissions carried out new raids on Audi. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche said it would invest €6 billion in electrified vehicles by 2022, an increase of €3 billion from the prior plan. €500 million of this will be for additional variants of the MissionE (2-3 new top hats by our maths); €700 million is to be spent on non-vehicle projects such as infrastructure. (Porsche)
  • Porsche and Audi executives said that the two firms would save around 30% investment by sharing an EV platform, in development for launch around 2025. (Engadget)
  • Scania and Chinese truckmaker Haylion agreed a collaboration to work on autonomous trucks. (Scania)
  • Launched Cupra as a standalone sporty sub-brand within SEAT. (SEAT)
  • Porsche executives talked about plans for the all-electric Mission E sports car, saying that although annual production was planned at 20,000 units there is “a little leeway” to produce more; that they were investigating additional derivatives and that Porsche are seeing “a trend towards shorter lifecycles” than the traditional 5-7 years. (VW)

January

  • During an in-house interview Porsche’s electronics head said that solid state batteries were unlikely to be in production vehicles until 2025 and lithium air would probably not appear until 2030. (Porsche)
  • SEAT is converting 115 temporary employees at its Martorell, Spain, plant to permanent positions. (VW)
  • Opened a centre in Beijing to research future mobility technologies and applications. VW now has three such facilities: in Asia, Europe and the USA. (VW)
  • Executives said VW’s European dealer network will slim down, but not significantly reduce. (Handelsblatt)
  • Audi executives are concerned about the impact of WLTP on fleet targets and taxation policy. (Journal Auto)
  • Announced that it will start local production of VW Polo and Passat cars in Rwanda with longtime partner CFAO. The vehicles are intended for use in ride hailing and car sharing schemes that VAG will launch in 2018. (VW)
  • Launched the US market Jetta, saying that it would invest $3.3 billion in North America by 2020. (VW)
  • Audi is running a trial V2G scheme, installing power generation and stationary storage batteries in customer’s homes. In addition to managing the home needs, the hardware also sells surplus electricity to the grid. (Audi)
  • Settled a class action lawsuit (covering 20,000 owners) in Canada over diesel vehicles. (Reuters)
  • The VW brand is creating a e-mobility division, headed by a board-level executive, in order to reflect the importance of electrification. (VW)
  • Porsche was affecting by warning strikes called by IG Metall ahead of negotiations with employers on a new wage agreement. (Handelsblatt)
  • Announced a partnership with start-up Aurora -- founded by the former head of Google’s program -- to develop self-driving systems. Unlike the similarly-timed Hyundai announcement which appears aimed at a retail product, VW have set their sights squarely on mobility as a service. VW said that the two companies have already been working together for six months. (VW)

2017

Full Year 2017 Earnings

  • Announced financial results for 2017. Revenue of €231 billion was up 6.2% versus 2016; operating profit increased to €17 billion, leading the company to propose doubling the dividend. (VW)
  • The VW Group sold 10.74 million vehicles in 2017, a 4.3% increase on 2016. (VW)

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

March

  • Recalling nearly 75,000 Audis of various types to fix problems with fuel leaks. (Detroit News)
  • Porsche will increase the production capacity of the all-electric Taycan above 20,000 units per year, but won’t say by how much. (Bloomberg)
  • Bentley says that battery technology needs to lead to a doubling of energy density before the brand can consider it as a suitable alternative to internal combustion engines for products like Bentayga. The brand believes that fuel cells may be the answer, but sees the technology as more than 10 years away. (Autocar)
  • Although VW continues to explore potential sites for a new plant in Eastern Europe, works council representatives are reportedly unimpressed and plan to vote against the scheme. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche is currently studying a successor to the 918 Spyder supercar and hasn’t yet decided whether it should have a hybrid or all-electric drivetrain. (Autocar)
  • Bugatti unveiled a one-off “voiture noire” coach-built Chiron derivative. Bugatti says the car has been sold for £9.5 million and the project pretty much broke even. (Autocar)
  • CEO Diess believes that automakers are trading at a discount because the market does not believe they can make the transition from vehicles with internal combustion engines to all-electric power and that explaining the transition plan will be critical to winning investor confidence. (CNBC)
  • VW’s commercial vehicle chief said autonomous vehicles require at least five years of further research and the sensor set cost needs to fall to around €6,000 - €7,000 per car. (Reuters)
  • Audi showed the Q4 e-tron all-electric SUV. (Audi)
  • Audi is experimenting with installing used lithium-ion batteries from road cars into plant vehicles such as forklift trucks and tugs. The firm believes that the repurposed batteries could be more efficient than the traditional lead acid packs originally fitted. However, Audi’s description of a recycling process that includes stripping down the donor pack, testing the cells and then re-packaging into a completely different configuration serves to demonstrate that the recycling process hasn’t been fully thought-through. (Audi)
  • Says that there may be no business case for combustion engine powered city cars like the Up! as emissions legislation in Europe will make them too expensive to produce; and that poorer customers will suffer as a result. (Autocar)

February

  • Will use Jetta as a standalone brand in the Chinese market, in partnership with FAW. The portfolio draws heavily on SEAT models. (Autocar)
  • Announced that the next generation Macan will be all-electric. (Porsche)
  • Reportedly considering a smaller IPO of truck division Traton than the previously mentioned 25% stake if economic conditions deteriorate. (Reuters)
  • Although some claimed that VW and Ford were close to a deal to team up on self-driving equipment (WSJ), others said that a deal was months away and implied that leaks were almost all from VW and unreliable. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Announced an executive reorganisation at the VW brand aimed at giving CEO Diess more time to run the wider group. The main changes are a broader remit for the COO and a more important digital services function. (VW)
  • VW and Russian partner Gaz have apparently been working on a series of nearly finalised new projects, with the intent of being able to make a fast start if US sanctions against Gaz are lifted. (Handelsblatt)
  • Announced that e.Go will licence the MEB platform. (VW)
  • Audi’s CEO believes that one in ten management positions should be eliminated. He said that eliminating 30% of powertrain combinations (the least popular ones) resulted in hardly any sales being lost. (Handelsblatt)
  • Bentley’s CEO says that brand’s recovery plan is already ahead of schedule. (Autocar)
  • LG Chem has reportedly threatened to supply VW Group with fewer batteries than the car maker would like if VW proceeds to build battery factories in partnership with SK Innovation. (Manager Magazin)
  • Audi reportedly told unions that it wishes to cancel the night shift at Ingolstadt to save costs. (Handelsblatt)
  • VW’s head of design gave an in-house interview talking about the challenges of electric vehicle design and the benefits of latest virtual reality gizmos. (VW)
  • Audi trumpeted the success of early trials of an internal resource allocation system that lets employees vote on the benefit of potential new projects. (VW)
  • Output at the Zwickau plant has been temporarily reduced, VW says supplier problems are to blame. (Handelsblatt)
  • Porsche is making UK customers sign up for a potential 10% surcharge in the event of a no-deal Brexit if they have a car delivered after the end of March 2019. Since a 10% import tariff would apply to the imported cost of the vehicle (i.e. less than dealer margin and national sales company profits), Porsche would effectively be over-charging for the tariff. (Car Dealer Magazine)
  • Talks with VW on sharing autonomous and electric vehicle technology appear to be taking longer than both parties hoped. On driverless cars, VW’s valuation of Argo.ai seems far lower than Ford had hoped and Ford’s head of markets wondered aloud on a podcast whether VW’s MEB electric vehicle platform was suitable for blue oval products in markets outside Europe and China. (Reuters)
  • Announced an new initiative to rate suppliers based on their manufacturing emissions, in part because -- for battery electric vehicles -- more of the supply chain is outsourced. (VW)
  • VW’s Moia on-demand shuttle service plans to charge around €6 - €7 per trip. The company believes that there is a gap in the market between public transport (cheaper) and taxis (more expensive). (VW)
  • VW has reportedly abandoned plans to fit the sporty GTI derivative of the next generation Golf with a 48V augmented gasoline engine. The technology will still be used on more economy-minded derivatives. (Autocar)
  • As rumours swirled of a plan to sue Bosch heavily for the firm’s role in the US diesel scandal, VW refused to comment whilst Bosch said the idea was unimaginable. (Handelsblatt)
  • Will launch the updated Passat at the Geneva show. VW confirmed that there is a PHEV derivative with around 55 km of WLTP range and there will be a “partially automated” driving function called IQ.Drive. VW implies that IQ.Drive, an amalgam of different systems such as adaptive cruise, lane keeping and emergency steering will capably drive on the highway so long as the driver keeps their hands on the steering wheel. (VW)
  • VW overhauled its system for staff to submit improvement ideas -- and upped the maximum payout to €75k. (VW)
  • VW Financial Services acquired a 60% stake in Fleet Logistics, folding in the CarMobility subsidiary. (Fleet Europe)
  • Seat will work overtime during March because of strong demand for the Ibiza and Arona. (Europa Press)

January

  • Wants the MEB electric vehicle platform to be used by other OEMs and become a standard for them. (VW)
  • Plans to have a sub €20,000 all-electric car on sale in Europe by 2023 to 2024. (Autocar)
  • The first 200 E-Tron SUVs have a limited edition specification and €106,000 price tag. (Handelsblatt)
  • Continuing strike action at Audi’s Hungarian plant led to stoppages at German factories. (Reuters)
  • Over 50% of Porsche employees were born after 1979. (Porsche)
  • Will reduce the workforce in Slovakia, primarily through non-renewal of fixed term contracts and by ending the secondment of 500 Hungarian Audi staff. (Reuters)
  • Porsche Taycan buyers in the USA will get three years of free charging, providing they use stations owned by parent VW’s Electrify America subsidiary and only stay for half an hour. (Porsche)
  • Signed an MoU with the Ethiopian government to establish local assembly and component supply. (VW)
  • Said that diesel orders in Germany have started to pick up again with new 2018 orders having a 43% diesel mix, up from 39% in 2017. (VW)
  • Expanding the Audi on demand service to Spain following trials in the UK. At around £2,200 for a one month loan of an A4 saloon, the offering doesn’t differentiate on price from major daily rentals. (Audi)
  • Porsche may be fined after admitting it submitted incorrect fuel economy figures during the homologation of the prior series 911. (Autocar)
  • CEO Diess believes that Chinese demand will continue to grow, albeit slowly. (Reuters)
  • Bugatti’s CEO rejected rumours that the brand will produce an SUV. (Autocar)
  • Reportedly plans to build 40,000 Porsche Taycans per year and may add a second factory (Porsche previously talked about 20,000 units capacity). Audi’s e-Tron also looks set for an increase in production rate from 20 to 24 vehicles per hour. (Automotive News)
  • Following warning strikes, workers in Audi’s Hungarian factory stopped work for a week. (Bloomberg)
  • Invested $10 million in battery developer Forge Nano. (VW)
  • Bentley’s CEO said a no deal Brexit would pose a “fundamental risk” to the brand’s profitability. He set the costs of increased customs checks in perspective saying that he would chose a few million pounds of additional inventory over the risk of disrupted production from running supply chains too lean. (Reuters)
  • Porsche invested in roadside assistance firm Urgent.ly. (Porsche)
  • Audi is looking to make €15 billion of cost cuts by 2022. Audi believes that natural attrition will reduce the workforce by 14,000 people in a five year period. (Reuters)
  • Ford and VW announced the first fruits of their collaboration, covering commercial vehicles. There will be a pick-up led by Ford; a small van led by VW; and a 1T van led by Ford. The vehicles will launch from 2022 onwards. The two parties signed MoUs to investigate autonomous vehicles and electric powertrains -- there had been some hopes that they would make firm commitments in this area. (VW)
  • Sees great potential for CNG vehicles in India. (Autocar)
  • Announced an $800 million investment in the Chattenooga plant to build electric cars on the MEB platform. (VW)
  • Porsche launched a pay per mile insurance scheme in the US to reduce ownership costs. (Porsche)
  • Audi says that profits on electric cars will be similar to a well-equipped diesel. (Automotive News)
  • Agreed to pay €12.3 million to the Indian authorities relating to exhaust emission irregularities, but VW said it continues to dispute the fine and wants the money back. (Handelsblatt)
  • Audi workers in Hungary started warning strikes after demanding an 18% pay rise. Unions say that they are paid far less than Slovak and Polish counterparts, not to mention those in Western Europe. (Reuters)
  • Considering building a rugged BEV that “loves scratches”. (Automotive News)
  • Spending €250 million to develop the low cost MQB A0 platform in India. VW says the vehicles produced in the country with have 95% local content. (VW)
  • VW’s chairman said that entry level vehicles would have to rise in price if they had electric drivetrains. (Handelsblatt)
  • Creating a subsidiary called Elli that will provide charging services. (VW)
  • VW and Ford will reportedly announce specifics of their new alliance at the Detroit show with sources suggesting that press releases will concentrate on commercial vehicle ties ups and rumoured plans for VW to buy into Ford’s Argo autonomous technology unit and Ford licencing VW’s MEB platform will remain unconfirmed. (Reuters)
  • Said that proposed hardware retrofits in Germany would reduce reliability and change the driving characteristics of vehicles. VW believes that some vehicles will be impossible to retrofit and that even those that can be modified may fall short of the envisaged emissions levels. (VW)
  • The Porsche and Piech families, majority owners of VW Group, have declared the performance of Bentley to be unsatisfactory and want a turnaround to yield results within two years. (FAZ)