With a strong financial turn-around of over half a billion euros, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) is back into the black – a year earlier than budgeted. With a profit of €73 million, the German brand is now again showing a clearly positive operating result (following a loss of €454 million in 2020). The impact of the coronavirus pandemic, especially the difficulties with the supply of semi-conductors, led last year at VWCV as elsewhere to periods of production downtime and to fewer vehicles being shipped. At the same time, the light commercial vehicles manufacturer continued its transformation apace last year. The conversion of the main plant in Hanover into a high-technology site is systematically progressing. All the measures taken contributed to the enhanced GRIP 2030 corporate strategy, which VWCV made public for the first time.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles delivered 359,500 vehicles to customers last year – in the year before it was 371,000. Carsten Intra, Chairman the Management Board, was nevertheless satisfied with the sales performance, especially with the high number of orders taken, which was for around 100,000 vehicles more than units delivered: “The strong demand for our products shows the strength of the brand and the customers’ great interest in the products we offer.”
Looking ahead to the coming year, Intra made reference to the ongoing uncertainties, above all caused by the effects of the war in Ukraine: “We are all moved by the suffering of the people. Many of our employees want to help: be it by giving money, through donations in kind or by personally getting involved”, said Carsten Intra. The VWCV plants have been directly affected by the loss of some central suppliers. That is leading to renewed, previously unforeseeable stoppages in production.
VWCV benefited in this respect from the great synergies with Volkswagen Development in Wolfsburg and from utilising platform solutions like MQB and MEB for the latest commercial vehicle models.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is in future broadening out the Bulli range into three pillars: the Multivan, T6.1 and new ID. Buzz model lines. To this end the company already introduced a completely new generation of the Multivan in June 2021. With more driving comfort, premium elements from passenger cars and even more multi-functionality. The popular T6.1 remains both the specialist for commercial use and for now also the basis of the very successful California campervan. In the shape of the recently unveiled ID. Buzz lifestyle MPV and the ID. Buzz Cargo urban van, VWCV has now additionally presented two all-electric models. Carsten Intra: “For the me the vehicle represents the mobility of tomorrow. The ID. Buzz transfers seven decades of Bulli know-how and the design of an icon into the era of electric mobility.” And another product launch is already scheduled for this summer: the new Amarok from the cooperation with Ford will then be making its debut.
Final preparations are being made at the Hanover plant for full production of the new ID. Buzz. These include training up over 5,000 employees in the making of electric vehicles. Around 60 per cent of the workers have completed the training course. The remaining staff are currently undertaking training that will be completed by the time production begins. In parallel with this, some initial conversion work for future all-electric premium Audi and Bentley vehicles has already begun. A new production hall is being erected for this in the heart of the plant. Despite the difficult circumstances around semi-conductor supply, the production start-ups of the Caddy Maxi and compact Caddy California campervan have begun at the Poznań plant (Poland).Carsten Intra presented for the first time the details of the further developed GRIP 2030 strategy. It describes the company’s vision through to the end of the decade. “By 2030, more than 55 per cent of our vehicles in Europe will be battery-electric vehicles powered by ‘green’ electricity.” In developing the AD technology, VWCV is also contributing an integral component to the Volkswagen Group’s NEW AUTO strategy. VWCV is on the way to becoming an agile, performance-oriented, digital business.
“The objectives that we want to achieve with GRIP 2030 are ambitious, but they are also realistic”, says Carsten Intra in summary. “With our products and services we will decisively shape the mobility of the future.”