Investment plan

VW to submit next five-year investment plan in December

FRANKFURT – Drawing up a plan to turn the Volkswagen Group plant in Wolfsburg, Germany into a competitive counterweight to Tesla’s new European plant will slightly delay the automaker’s next five-year investment plan, a said CEO Herbert Diess.

“Over the past few weeks, we have intensified discussions around a shared vision for Wolfsburg 2030,” Diess told analysts after the third quarter results presentation on Thursday.

“The increased competitive pressures have underscored the need to include this shared vision in our next planning cycle,” said Diess.

At Wednesday’s supervisory board meeting, all parties concerned agreed to postpone the submission of the investment plan until December 9, Diess said. The change will give the automaker “a few more weeks to agree on a common vision and a roadmap for transformation,” he said.

VW originally planned to agree on the next investment plan on November 12.

Diess’ comments last month that the company could lose 30,000 jobs if it switches too slowly to electric vehicles has shocked worker representatives who hold half of the seats on the automaker’s supervisory board.

Diess told analysts on Thursday he was confident VW could follow Tesla as the U.S. electric car maker prepares to open a new plant in Gruenheide, near Berlin.

VW will have to make further cost cuts, including downsizing at the Wolfsburg plant, Diess said. “Of course we need downsizing, to be this competitive,” he said.

Tesla aims to start production at its plant by the end of the year and eventually build up to 500,000 cars per year with 12,000 employees. VW employs 25,000 people to build 700,000 cars in Wolfsburg.

Diess said Tesla’s site sets a new benchmark for productivity, speed and lean management.

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