Based on an impressive business year in 2018, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) is investing over 1.8 billion euros (Rs 13,759 crore) in the company and the future of the brand this year.
The GRIP 2025+ transformation strategy involves new products, conversion of plants, and the development of new mobility services. According to Thomas Sedran, chairman of the Board for the VWCV brand, "We can shape the transformation at the peak of the industry, because we are financially strong and can exploit synergies within the Group. Our new strategy allows us to follow a clear plan and boost our speed significantly. We are developing from a pure carmaker to a mobility provider. To this end, we are investing more than 1.8 billion euros this year."
In business year 2018, VWCV achieved the second-best business performance in its history. Sales revenue of 11.9 billion euros (Rs 90,963 crore) nearly reached the prior year level. Operating profit declined slightly to 780 million euros (Rs 5,962 crore) from 853 million euros (Rs 6,520 crore) in the prior year. Earnings were muted by higher outlays for new products, negative effects of currency exchange rate, and effects of the new WLTP test procedure. VWCV exceeded its prior year performance with around 500,000 vehicles delivered – a figure that underscores its position as a leading producer of light commercial vehicles in Europe.
2019 looks to be a challenging year
In 2019, VWCV expects sales to reach at least the prior year level, but in a much more challenging environment. At the same time, 2019 will be a crucial year of transition for VWCV. The GRIP 2025+ strategy aims to offer answers to key challenges in the industry: climate protection, digitalisation, new mobility services and autonomous driving. At the same time, customised products for commercial customers and emotional vehicles for families and recreation will remain important core business areas for the brand. But they will be increasingly supplemented by innovative mobility and transport services.
In pursuit of this goal, Group-wide development for autonomous driving will be bundled in Hannover. Alexander Hitzinger, the brand's new Member of the Management Board for Development, has taken on this task for the entire Volkswagen Group. In building up new mobility services, VWCV is also utilising the know-how of MOIA. After successful testing in Hannover, the Volkswagen subsidiary is now launching operations in Hamburg with all-electric shuttle buses based on the Crafter.
The planned collaboration with its new alliance partner Ford also reinforces the competitive position of VWCV. The two manufacturers complement one another in their regional strengths and products. Initial contracts have been signed – including a ‘development contract Pickup’ for the successor model of the Amarok. There are other potential areas of cooperation, e.g. in additional vehicle projects, autonomous driving or shared use of electric mobility platforms.
The most visible sign that VWCV is launching into the electric age is the ID. BUZZ which will be produced in Hannover starting in 2022. It is the all-electric version of the legendary T-Series. "The ID. BUZZ is certainly the most important product of the coming year," says Thomas Sedran. "At the same time, it is a symbol of the brand's future: zero emissions, extremely innovative and very emotional. The next generation Bulli will also come from our main plant.!"
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) is an independent brand of the Volkswagen Group and is responsible globally for the development, construction and sales of light commercial vehicles, producing the Transporter, Caddy, Crafter and Amarok ranges. In 2018, the brand sold around 499,700 light commercial vehicles, which were produced at its sites in Hannover, Poznań, Września and Pacheco. VWCV employs over 24,000 people globally, of whom around 15,000 work at the Hannover site.