Works meeting at Wolfsburg plant: Positive assessment of a challenging year

Together with the General Works Council Chairman, Bernd Osterloh, the Chairman of the Volkswagen Board of Management, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, gave a positive assessment of the year which is now coming to an end. “2014 was a hard year but it was also a successful year for the Group and for our Wolfsburg plant in the final resort,” said Winterkorn on Thursday.

Throughout the world, the Group will probably sell more than 10 million vehicles and the plant at Group headquarters in Wolfsburg will produce more than 830,000 vehicles. “This would all not have been possible without your dedication, your skills and your hard work. My colleagues on the Board of Management and I would like to thank you most sincerely for your achievements,” Winterkorn said.

Osterloh stated: “Over the past year, our colleagues have once again demonstrated that we intend to achieve the goals of Strategy 2018 with special shifts, work during the plant holidays and many hours of overtime in non-production departments. We also support the efficiency program of Dr. Winterkorn as we intend to continue a high level of investment in our products and markets. Together, we can all be satisfied with the performance of the team in 2014 and look forward with optimism to the New Year, which will bring further special shifts at Wolfsburg, bearing witness to high demand from customers.“

The Group took its leave of Prof. Dr. Werner Neubauer, the long-standing member of the Volkswagen brand Board of Management responsible for Components, who is retiring at the end of the year. The Chairman of the Board of Management honored him as a personality who had “accompanied and shaped Volkswagen for almost half a century.”

“You were passionate about your components and your team, which is surely one of the reasons why Volkswagen Components is now so innovative, so strong and so competitive,” said Winterkorn.

Osterloh also praised Neubauer: “Up to this day, Werner Neubauer has proved that components produced within the Group can be competitive and that we have no reason to fear external competition.” According to Osterloh, the development of Volkswagen Components has been a success both in terms of economics and in terms of employment policy. He said that component production also set standards as regards technology. “As a result, we are well-positioned for the future. Werner Neubauer has been instrumental in this success story,” said the Chairman of the General Works Council.

On his retirement, “Mr. Component“ (Winterkorn) received a long-lasting ovation from the workforce, the Works Council and the Board of Management. Neubauer will remain active for the Group as a consultant and will work on the key topic of “Industry 4.0” in the future.

According to this statement made by Winterkorn, the Group will have three main focuses in 2015: global presence and further internationalization, the strengthening of technological leadership and the “Future Tracks” program, which is intended to make the Group and the brand fitter in the long term.

In this context, the Group will be making considerable investments. Group expenditure up to 2019 on new models, environmentally compatible technologies and plants will exceed €85 billion. “It is especially important for me to note that about 56 percent of investments in fixed assets, or more than €36 billion, will be made in Germany,” said Winterkorn. During this period, some €5.3 billion are to be invested in Wolfsburg. Winterkorn: “It would hardly be possible for us to express our commitment to this location more clearly.” He added that investment in the future and efficiency were two sides of the same coin. This was why the investment program was also a key component of the “Future Tracks” efficiency and future initiative.

However, Winterkorn also mentioned that competition for the mobility of the future would be very hard and success would not be easy. “It is therefore a very good thing that the Works Council is not only open to these future-oriented topics but is also driving these topics forward together with us. This once again confirms that we shape the future together at Volkswagen.”

Together with Works Council Chairman Osterloh, Winterkorn also gave the workforce an update on the efforts that had been made since July to ensure greater efficiency and improved results for the Volkswagen brand. The efficiency initiative had started in a highly promising way and was being actively supported by all units. Structures, a large number of measures and the route to be taken in 2015 had all been defined. The many ideas submitted and initiatives adopted by employees were underlined.