In the year of the pandemic, the Volkswagen group increased its share globally to 13%. During the annual budget conference, CEO Herbert Diess did not of course mention the overtaking of Toyota, which has returned to being the first manufacturer in the world, but began by talking about the workers: “I thank our 670,000 employees – he said – They brought us through this crisis “. In the meantime, however, thanks above all to the extraordinary strength of the Porsche brand, the German giant intends to distribute to shareholders a dividend identical to that paid for the previous year, namely 4.8 euros for ordinary shares and 4.86 for preferred ones. The individual brands will then formalize if, how much and in what form to assign the contractual prizes.
The result was obtained despite a decrease in sales of 15% and with a global turnover of 222.9 billion euros (in 2019 it was 252.6), down by 11.8% (in the first half it was practically twice). The strong recovery in China (3.6 million vehicles marketed in the country) has contributed to the improvement of the overall picture thanks to which Frank Witter, the finance number one to whom ArnoAntlitz (who comes from Audi) takes over in April, was able to present an operating margin of 10.6 million euros. The figure is halved compared to the 19.3 billion in 2019 (-45%), but the profit after taxes still touched 9 billion (8.8).
In the difficult global health and economic context, Porsche’s specific weight has increased considerably and although CEO Oliver Blume will talk about it at length on Friday, today Witter anticipated that the drop in operating margin was just 4.5% (4.021 billion instead of 4,210) with the usual impressive return on sales: 15.4%. Audi (which will no longer develop combustion engines) reached 5.5% with a margin dropped by 40%, Skoda at 4.4%, Bentley and Volkswagen “saved” (+ 1% and + 0.6% ), while Seat and the Commercial Vehicles division fell (-3.7% and -4.9%).
Electrification, connectivity and autonomous driving will be the pillars of the future of the group, which is working on three new ambitious automotive projects (Artemis, Trinity and Apollon) to be integrated into the new Scalable Systems Platform architecture. The conversion will make the subsidiary Car.Software, which should reach 10,000 employees when fully operational, the second European company in the sector in Europe behind SAP. Diess wants 60% of programs to be developed internally, six times the current figure. By 2025, one fifth of the group’s volumes will depend on electric vehicles, while at the end of the decade the share should equal that of vehicles powered by combustion engines, which will continue to be marketed in those markets where electrification will proceed more slowly. Also by 2030, the group plans to offer 50 zero-emission models.
Among the cars on the launch pad are the Viloran in China, the Nivus in South America (“the first model developed in Latin America that will also be distributed in Europe”, Diess stressed) and the Taos in the northern part of the continent. The production strategy will also be changed and electric cars will be assembled not only in Europe, but also in China (for example the ID.6) and in the United States. Diess expects a strong recovery in the second half of 2021 and, above all, a further boost from electrified cars. In 2019 the group had marketed less than 143,000, last year over 422,000 and next December it imagines it will have reached one million.