Lack of chips slows down Volkswagen

Wolfsburg (dpa) – Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess wants to further reduce costs at the car company, also in view of the chip crisis. He considers job cuts to be necessary.

“The results of the third quarter show once again that we now have to consistently drive the improvement in productivity in the volume sector,” said Diess on Thursday in Wolfsburg. Sales fell sharply in the months of July to September, sales slightly.

Diess has long been looking at US entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is responsible for the new Tesla plant in Grünheide near the capital Berlin can pull up from the ground up as required by the future automotive world with its electric drives and networked services. This, however, has to act against a completely different background at Volkswagen – at the end of September the group had just under 675 000 employees worldwide, most of them are still working around the classic combustion engine. The group includes mass brands such as VW Pkw, Seat and Skoda.

By 2030 Diess now wants to make the Wolfsburg parent plant fit for the competition with Grünheide, as he said. That is the challenge that Wolfsburg is facing, the plant must become more productive. “We certainly need to cut jobs,” he added, naming both jobs in production and positions in administration and development.

In the past few weeks, one of the possible Reduction of around 30. 000 positions in the core brand VW Pkw speculated. Diess did not want to comment on specific figures. “That has not yet been agreed, we will be working on it in the coming weeks,” said the VW boss.

The recently incumbent works council chief Daniela Cavallo recently had an additional electric car model in addition to the 2026 starting Trinity project for Wolfsburg and an earlier entry into e-mobility is required. She reiterated this demand on Thursday: “The employees rightly want to know what the future will look like beyond the integration of the Trinity project.” She referred to job security up to 2029 and ongoing programs to reduce jobs. “Beyond that, there are no arrangements for further downsizing at the Wolfsburg site,” she clarified.

Due to the need for further discussions, the so-called planning round, which traditionally takes place in November, is now postponed by around a month – this is going on there are regular investment commitments worth billions for the next five years. In the last few days it had already become apparent that there was still a need for coordination between management and employees. Cavallo’s clear and public criticism of Diess and his planned absence from a works meeting scheduled for the beginning of November promptly followed his acceptance. He agreed with Cavallo that he should be present at the event – and would like to explain his point of view on the current situation right away, he said in a press conference.

And the situation could definitely be better be. In the third quarter, the VW Group delivered around a quarter fewer vehicles to customers worldwide than a year ago. In particular, the delivery bottlenecks for electronic semiconductors stopped production in the factories several times. In Germany, many employees had to go on short-time work, and Wolfsburg is also underutilized Downward expectations. And sales will probably no longer increase by over 10 percent, but probably only up to 10 percent above the weak just under 223 billion euros from the previous year.

It hardly helped that CFO Arno Antlitz had the prospect of a return on the operating result of 6 to 7.5 percent of sales – and even in the upper end of the range – confirmed. With less sales, there is less profit left over, expect stock exchange traders.

In view of the slump in sales, VW in the group was still in good shape in terms of financial figures. Sales fell by four percent to 56, 9 billion euros, and earnings before interest and taxes adjusted for special items fell by twelve percent to 2.8 billion. And the bottom line was that VW even made more profits because the group posted significantly less taxes and the financial and investment results were also better. The profit attributable to the shareholders rose by around seven percent to 2.8 billion euros.

That it didn’t look any worse was primarily due to the financial services. The group division for car financing and leasing posted a record result of 1.5 billion euros in the quarter alone. The business benefits in particular from the currently high prices for used cars, because leasing returns can be sold at a high price.

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