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Car prices will rise significantly to comply with CO2 emissions limits – Volkswagen

Automotive News reported that Volkswagen Group said higher material costs to comply with CO2 emissions regulation will significantly increase the price of its cars in the medium-term. Cheaper cars will proportionately see the biggest price rises, Volkswagen said with increasing safety requirements an additional burden on costs.

VW head of sales Christian Dahlheim said that "Volkswagen is using various resources to counteract rising costs. Nevertheless, it is clear that it will not be possible to completely offset the higher material costs."

The drag on carmakers has steadily increased over the past few months, culminating in a number of profit warnings last year. Into this year, trade tensions look likely to persist, while concerns over Brexit are escalating and China’s auto market declined for the first time in two decades last year. Both Ford and Jaguar Land Rover announced thousands of job cuts in Europe Thursday.

On top of these factors, the payoff on the costly shift into electric cars remains years away. Sales remain at a fraction of overall deliveries, and poor charging infrastructure is keeping consumers on the fence to switch to battery cars. Volkswagen sold 100,000 plug-in and battery vehicles last year, less than 1 percent of the total.

Dahlheim said in a statement that "The challenges for our business won’t ease given the geopolitical volatile developments adding that VW was well positioned to navigate industry turbulence.

A slew of fresh models should help stem the tide of negative factors, VW said, such as the VW T-Cross, Seat Tarraco and revamped Audi Q3 compact SUV. Still, demand in China and Europe,

VW’s two key regions, is forecast to hover around the same level as last year, limiting growth. The U.S. vehicle market might decline slightly, and VW forecast a difficult first quarter in China.

Source : Automotive News
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Volkswagen may face new diesel recall in Europe – Report

Automotive News reported that as many as 370,000 Volkswagen Group diesel cars could be recalled or pulled off the road in Europe if Germany’s transport regulator concludes the company cheated when it fixed polluting vehicles, Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported. The newspaper reported that the regulator accuses VW of manipulating emissions-related software on vehicles with 1.2-liter engines. The newspaper said that KBA was considering forcing 30,000 affected cars off the road, although it was more likely just to order further remedial work.

Prosecutors were preparing charges against unnamed Volkswagen managers for suspected fraud, The Bild am Sonntag said. It said VW had given assurances in 2016 that the 1.2-liter engines did not use illegal emissions cheating defeat devices.

The Federal Ministry of Transport said Sunday that the accusations are known and the transport watchdog is investigating the case, but proceedings haven’t been completed. Hearings will be held in the coming week, Bild am Sonntag said.

A VW spokesman said internal quality controls for diesel cars with 1.2 -liter engines, model EA189, had revealed irregularities that were now being analyzed. He said VW had informed the authorities and the company was in continuous dialogue with them.

VW has had to recall hundreds of thousands of cars around the world since it admitted in Sept. 2015 to installing illegal software in diesel engines to cheat strict US anti pollution tests.

Source : Automotive News
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New delivery record for Volkswagen Group in 2018

With 10.83 million vehicles delivered throughout the world, 0.9 percent more than in 2017, the Volkswagen Group set an all-time record. In many markets of the world, South America, Europe, the USA and China, both the deliveries and in some cases the market shares of the Volkswagen Group grew. With successful product offensives, the Group brands were able to more than compensate for the risks in individual regions such as the general economic uncertainty in China and the adverse effects of the WLTP changeover in Europe. Especially the Group’s new SUV models were strong growth drivers. The Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Škoda, Seat, Porsche and Lamborghini brands all set new deliveries records. Dr Christian Dahlheim, Head of Volkswagen Group Sales, said “Even though setting new records is no longer our primary goal, we are very pleased about this great result. Especially in the second half, things were not easy for us in 2018. It was possible to achieve this new deliveries record for the Group thanks to a combination of outstanding products and the high level of trust placed in us by our customers. In view of volatile geopolitical developments, our business will face an equally strong headwind in 2019. In my opinion, the Volkswagen Group is well-positioned to meet the upcoming challenges. We face the future with optimism.”

In Europe, the brands of the Volkswagen Group delivered a total of 4.38 million vehicles in 2018, 1.2 percent more than in 2017. The Group grew especially strongly in Central and Eastern Europe, where 797,200 vehicles were handed over to customers, 7.1 percent more than the previous year. This increase was especially due to strong performance in Russia, where Group deliveries grew by 19.8 percent. Despite the significant adverse effects of the WLTP changeover of the fleets in the second half of the year, deliveries by the Group in Western Europereached about the same level as the previous year, at 3.58 million vehicles. In Germany, deliveries also remained at the prior-year level, at 1.28 million vehicles.

There was a two-way split between the situation for the brands in the markets of North America. While growth was recorded in the USAwith 638,300 vehicles delivered (+2.1 percent) and Canada with 118,500 vehicles delivered (+3.7 percent), there was a drop of 15.6 percent compared with the previous year in Mexico. In total, the Volkswagen Group handed 956,700 vehicles over to customers in the region, 2.0 percent less than in 2017.

Developments for the Volkswagen Group in South America last year were extremely positive. With growth of 13.1 percent in deliveries to 590,000 vehicles, the region made a decisive contribution to the positive overall figures of the Group. The outstanding performance of the Group brands in Brazil, where 401,700 vehicles were delivered, a rise of 30,4 percent, more than offset the fall of 22.4 percent to 118,600 vehicles delivered in Argentina. In Argentina, conditions for the overall market remained difficult in a generally poor economic environment.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Volkswagen Group achieved growth, with 4.55 million vehicles handed over to customers – despite the negative effect of the Chinese market, where the overall economic situation became more sluggish in the second half of the year as a result of the trade dispute with the USA. The reluctance to buy on the part of consumers had a negative impact on the entire automobile market, which contracted for the first time after many years in 2018. In this situation, the Volkswagen Group still achieved slight growth compared with the previous year, at 4.21 million vehicles delivered, and were able to increase its market share.

Source : Strategic Resarch Institute
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VW and Ford eye van market in Turkey and Poland

Automotive News reported that Ford likely will build midsize vans for Volkswagen in Turkey while VW will produce smaller vans in Poland as the two automakers jointly develop commercial vans to tap into a lucrative market that is too small for each automaker to effectively compete in on their own. VW Group CEO Herbert Diess said Ford's factory in Turkey that builds the Transit vans is "an option" for VW's Transporter midsize vans.

Such a move would mean VW transferring production of its T6 vans from Hanover, Germany, to Turkey and the next Transporter moving to a Ford platform using Ford engines.

VW is in discussions with labor representatives in Hanover about the change, Diess said on Tuesday, as Ford and VW announced details of their partnership.

Germany's Handelblatt said VW likely will continue to build T6 passenger vans continue in Hanover while panel vans for businesses would transfer to Turkey.

VW needs to free up capacity in Hanover after announcing in November that it will build the I.D. Buzz retro-styled minibus at the factory, with production likely starting in 2022.

Ford and VW plan to launch vans in 2023 to replace the current Transit and the Transporter vans.

VW will build a new compact van to replace both the VW Caddy and the Transit Connect at VW's plant in Poland, where the automaker produces the Crafter large van, Handelsblatt reported. The new van would use VW engines.

Ford will build a midsize pickup to replace the VW Amarok to sold alongside a new Ford Ranger starting in 2022.

The models will be sold in Europe, South America and Africa, the companies said. No production location was given. Ford currently builds the European Ranger in South Africa.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Thomas Sedran said that "clear decisions" on production locations have not yet been made. To be competitive "the more production we have in the low-cost countries the better, and of course Turkey and Poland are both very competitive.”

Diess said VW and Ford would see similar savings from the commercial vehicle partnership by helping spread the cost of future technology and also making savings on product development. He said that "It's mitigation against potential cost increases because of the new drivetrains we need for the electrification in this segment and also the CO2 penalties we are facing.”

Source : Automotive News
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Volkswagen to build new generation of electric cars in Chattanooga

The Volkswagen brand is forging ahead consistently with its electric offensive and has now announced the first production location in North America. In future, the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee is to produce vehicles based on the modular electric toolkit MEB, a new generation of electric cars. For this purpose, Volkswagen is investing about EUR 700 million (USD 800 million) in the plant. The expansion of the plant will create up to 1,000 new jobs plus additional jobs at suppliers. The first electric car from Chattanooga is to roll off the production line in 2022. Over the next few years, eight MEB plants are to be developed in Europe, North America and China. Volkswagen is building up the production capacity needed to sell more than 1 million electric cars per year by 2025.

The first electric car to roll off the production line in Chattanooga will be the ID. CROZZ SUV model. Volkswagen will also offer the ID. BUZZ in North America, the reinterpretation of the legendary VW bus. Both cars are part of Volkswagen’s new ID. family, which will make optimum use of the possibilities of e-mobility. Among other features, the vehicles will offer long ranges, a spacious interior, dynamic driving behavior and a new level of digital connectivity.

Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG said that “The US is one of the most important locations for us and producing electric cars in Chattanooga is a key part of our growth strategy in North America. The management team lead by Scott Keogh is committed to continuing to increase our market share in the coming years. Together with our ongoing investments and this increase in local production, we are strengthening the foundation for sustainable growth of the Volkswagen brand in the US.”

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Audi plans Q3 sized electric crossover

Automotive News reported that Audi plans to introduce a full-electric crossover about the size of its compact Q3 SUV as the premium brand fills out its lineup of electric vehicles in a bid to take on established makers of EVs such as Tesla, according to people familiar with the matter. The car will be built at VW's Zwickau factory in Germany and share technology with its sister brand to save cost, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the plan is not public. It would complement three different versions of Audi's first all-electric model, the e-tron, which was unveiled in California last year, as well as a battery-powered variant of the Q2 SUV designed for the Chinese market, the people said.

Audi plans to launch seven hybrid cars and five battery vehicles by the end of next year, an Audi spokesman said. He declined to elaborate on specific models.

The Zwickau factory, about an hour's drive from the eastern German city of Leipzig, is central to VW’s electrification push. VW is investing 1.2 billion euros (USD 1.4 billion) in the plant, which now builds Golf hatchbacks, so it can produce as many as 330,000 EVs a year for the VW, Audi and Seat brands.

VW will start building the Golf-sized I.D. hatchback at the plant later this year for market launch in 2020. The automaker has announced plans to start making six electric models in Zwickau by 2021, including the I.D. Crozz compact crossover. The company has said it plans two Audi models at Zwickau, without identifying those projects.

The cars will be based on VW's new MEB electric platform.

Audi, Volkswagen Group's biggest profit contributor that has trailed behind rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW in recent years, has been overhauling its lineup to narrow the gap in sales volumes and margins.

Source : Automotive News
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Grand jury charges 4 Audi managers in emissions case

Phys.org reported that a federal grand jury in Detroit has indicted four Audi engineering managers from Germany in a widening diesel emissions cheating scandal. Mr Richard Bauder, Axel Eiser, Stefan Knirsch and Carsten Nagel were named in a 12 count indictment alleging conspiracy, wire fraud and violations of the Clean Air Act. The indictment, released, alleges the men took part in nearly a decade-long conspiracy to deceive the Environmental Protection Agency by cheating on emissions tests for 3-liter diesel engines.

None of the four is in custody, and they are believed to be in Germany, a Justice Department spokesman said.

Volkswagen pleaded guilty in 2016 to criminal charges in the scandal and will pay more than $30 billion in penalties and lawsuit settlement costs.

The men bring to 13 the number of VW employees charged in the scandal, in which VW used software on about 600,000 vehicles to turn pollution controls on during EPA tests and turn them off while on the road. Two have pleaded guilty and are serving jail time, while six others, including former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, remain in Germany.

It's unlikely any of the German citizens will face a US judge in the case. Germany's constitution forbids extradition of its citizens other than to another European Union member state or to an international court.

According to the indictment released, Mr Bauder was head of Audi's diesel engine development department in Neckarsulm, Germany, from 2002 until around February of 2012. Eiser had the same position in Ingolstadt, Germany, from 2009 until around May of 2013. Knirsch had the same position in Ingolstadt from May 2013 to May of 2015, and also was a member of Audi's management board. Nagel was head of Audi's Engine Registration and Testing in Neckarsulm from 2002 through February 2017.

The indictment said that the employees realized there wasn't enough room in the vehicles to meet VW design standards for a large trunk and high-end sound system while holding a big tank for fluid to treat diesel emissions. So they and co-conspirators designed software to cheat on the emissions tests so they could get by with a smaller tank for the fluid.

Tests conducted by Nagel and others found that nitrogen oxide emissions from vehicles with the diesel engines were up to 22 times above the U.S. limit, the indictment stated. The results were shared with Knirsch and Nagel, according to the indictment.

Source : Phys.org
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German engineering firm IAV pleads guilty in VW emissions scandal

Automotive News reported that a German engineering company co-owned by Volkswagen Group pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy in US District Court here for its role in helping VW to develop the defeat device software needed to temporarily alter the performance of its first so-called clean diesel engines. The software developed by IAV, headquartered in Berlin with offices in suburban Detroit, enabled Volkswagen to cheat on emissions testing to win certification for its Gen 1 2.0-liter turbodiesel vehicles, beginning in the 2009 model year.

Appearing before US District Judge Sean Cox on Friday, IAV pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the US and the automaker's customers in the U.S. to violate the Clean Air Act. The engineering company had agreed to plead guilty in a plea agreement last month.

The company has agreed to pay a USD 35 million fine, which was set under U.S. sentencing guidelines "according to the company's inability to pay a higher fine amount without jeopardizing its continued viability." It also agreed to operate under the guidelines of a court-appointed monitor for two years. However, IAV's sentencing was held in abeyance while the court conducts a probationary investigation. Sentencing was deferred until May 22 at 2PM.

Volkswagen pleaded guilty to three felonies in March 2017 resulting from its diesel emissions scandal and agreed to pay a criminal fine of USD 2.8 billion, as well as agreeing to be under an independent corporate compliance monitor for three years.

Source : Automotive News
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Five years of Audi manufacturing in Munchsmunster

The Münchsmünster production site close to Ingolstadt has been an important part of the main AUDI AG site since fall 2013: This facility, extending over an area of 54 hectares, makes form-hardened sheet steel elements and diecast aluminum components for lightweight construction using innovative production methods – combining low weight with strength and maximum precision. Key components for models of the Audi, VW, Bentley and Lamborghini brands have been manufactured here for the past five years. The new Audi e-tron equally incorporates chassis modules from Münchsmünster.

The Münchsmünster facility now has a workforce of over 900 and operates three shifts. Production has been gradually ramped up over the past few years. With the site operating very economically, the target has been achieved. 2018 again saw output of some 25 million vehicle components. The competence center comprises various areas: the structural components shop, the chassis modules shop and the press shop.

The giant aluminum diecasting systems in the cutting-edge structural components shop are in operation round the clock. All components are significantly lighter than conventional welded parts made from sheet steel – saving 30 percent weight. More than 600,000 components were made here in 2018, including strut mounts for the A4/A5 family and structural components e.g. for the new models Audi Q8 and Lamborghini Urus.

Production volume in the chassis modules shop climbed to around nine million parts in 2018. On two lines, Audi manufactures wheel hubs made from forged steel for Audi models with a longitudinal engine, and also for VW Group models and for Lamborghini. Gray cast iron brake disks are produced on new machining lines for automobiles based on the modular longitudinal platform (MLB). There are four additional lines for cast aluminum wheel carriers and forged aluminum swivel bearings for various Audi and VW models. Münchsmünster is also where brake disks, swivel bearings, wheel carriers and wheel hubs for the new Audi e-tron are made.

In the press shop, Audi workers operate ultramodern presses for hot and cold forming. The blanks required for both press lines are prepared on site in a strip-cutting plant. Advanced laser systems in the laser park process the hot-formed components, which are used mainly for strength and crash-relevant parts such as the B-post or tunnel reinforcement for the models of the A4/A5 family.

Sustainability is a topic that Audi actively addresses in Münchsmünster as much as anywhere else: Thanks to efficient practices and processes the site reduced natural gas consumption by six percent between 2017 and 2018, and power consumption by seven percent – despite running at full capacity.

Since the opening of the site, natural gas consumption alone has been cut by 2,750 metric tons of CO2. Right from its opening, power has been procured from CO2-neutral sources. In addition, a new recycling center covering 1,000 square meters (10,763.9 sq ft) is currently under construction at the site. This is where all waste, whether plastic, paper or wood shavings, will be collected and sorted.

Although the Münchsmünster site is an industrial complex, it is home to a wide range of biodiversity areas. So far, 111 plant species have become established on the rough grassland, whereas conventional industrial grassed areas are home to only ten species. The plants that can be found here in Münchsmünster include campanula, Carthusian pinks and dark mullein. The cultivation concept for the green spaces is steadily being optimized to ensure they continue to improve. In addition, diverse food sources and nesting places have attracted 84 species of wild bee. Native shrubs, fruit trees, wild flowers and plants such as lavender, globe thistles, sage and stonecrop can be found all over the site. The lawns are mown in rotation once or twice a year to ensure insects find sufficient food throughout the entire season. The grass cuttings are left to dry on the lawns until they have shed their seeds.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Volkswagen planning to extending diesel incentives across Germany

Reuters reported that German carmaker Volkswagen is examining whether to extend trade-in incentives to owners of older vehicles in all of Germany, extending the programme beyond the 15 most heavily polluted cities. Under pressure to avert bans of diesel vehicles in key cities, carmakers have started offering trade-in incentives to encourage customers to scrap older diesel vehicles for more modern cleaner vehicles.

A spokesman said the responsible board committee is examining a nationwide trade-in incentive for Euro 4 or Euro 5 diesel vehicles for a limited time period and is expected to make a decision early next week.

Volkswagen said in October it will offer buyers of VW-branded passenger cars an incentive if they agree to scrap cars equipped with older Euro 1 to Euro 4 engines.

The trade-in incentive is currently limited to Germany's 15 most polluted cities.

German daily Bild first reported that VW was considering extending the trade-in incentive to all of Germany. The paper said details were still being worked out but the company would pay up to 9,000 euros (USD 10,200) per car as previously envisaged.

German carmakers have already agreed to spend up to 3,000 euros (USD 3,431) per vehicle to upgrade engine management software to make exhaust filtering systems more effective, but environmentalists say these measures are insufficient.

Source : Reuters
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VW warns emissions push could make cars too expensive for consumers

Automotive News reported that Volkswagen Group CEO Mr Herbert Diess warned that the European Union’s proposed emissions target for 2030 is too demanding and the resulting push to EVs could make motoring too expensive for some consumers. Mr Diess said VW Group will be able to comply with the EU's average fleet carbon dioxide emissions of around 60 grams per km by 2030 by boosting sales of its full-electric cars to between 45 percent to 50 percent of the group's total volume. But he warned that "I am not sure how many customers could afford it."

Mr Diess told reporters on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show last week that buyers of premium cars will be able to afford more expensive EVs, "but I am not sure about a broader customer base.”

As examples, Mr Diess said the retail price of a VW Up minicar that could rise in price by about 3,500 euros to 14,500 euros to be compliant with the 2030 emissions target. The price for the small Polo model could rise by 4,000 euros.

Mr Diess said that “I am not sure how many customers could still afford our entry level models.” He noted that France's "yellow vest" protests were sparked by a 10-euro cent increase in the price of diesel fuel.

Mr Diess said that another implication of electrification will be the effect on jobs.

Source : Automotive News
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Audi electrifies World Economic Forum in Davos

As the exclusive shuttle partner, Audi is providing a fleet of 50 Audi e-tron cars for the annual meeting in 2019. The all-electric cars are fully powered by green electricity. And with mobile charging containers, the company is demonstrating a potential application of used batteries from electric cars. The Audi e-tron is the first all-electric large-series model from the Ingolstadt-based premium car manufacturer. More than 20,000 reservations have already been received for this model, which will arrive in the showrooms in Europe next week. With the shuttle fleet of 50 Audi e-trons, the company is once again demonstrating the car’s practicality in the snowy Swiss mountains – also in the region’s challenging weather and topography.

Board of Management Chairman of AUDI AG, Bram Schot said that “We are focusing clearly and consistently on sustainable mobility solutions for the future. At this year’s World Economic Forum, we can demonstrate our definition of practical electric mobility live, and can let many people experience it directly.”

Three mobile Audi charging containers with a total output of 700 kW and a capacity of 1.14 MWh will ensure the rapid supply of green electricity for the intensively used e-tron fleet. With this Audi research project, the company is testing the reuse of electric cars’ batteries. After their phase of use in cars is over, the high-voltage batteries continue to be suitable for various energy-storage applications. For this reason, Audi is testing scenarios for using the available resources as efficiently as possible. The company is currently deploying the containers at major events and is thus flexibly supplementing the local charging infrastructure.

With this research project, Audi is making a visible commitment to the values of the Global Battery Alliance of the World Economic Forum. The alliance consists of public- and private-sector partners from the entire battery supply chain and aims to ensure social and ecological sustainability in the value chain of battery raw materials. To this end, the Global Battery Alliance is concerned with the conditions for raw-material extraction, sustainable recycling concepts in the sense of a closed-loop economy, and innovations that promote battery sustainability. Audi has been a member of the cooperation platform since 2017.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Audi gaat €15 mrd bezuinigen

Het Duitse automerk Audi gaat de komende vier jaar in de kosten snijden. In totaal gaat het om een bezuiniging van €15 mrd. Dat heeft de Nederlandse ceo Bram Schot donderdag gezegd tegen het Duitse tijdschrift Manager Magazin.
Ook nieuwe vacatures worden niet meer opgevuld. Het personeelsbestand van Audi zou daardoor in totaal met 14.000 banen slinken.

Een woordvoerder van Audi bevestigt de bezuiniging tegenover persbureau Reuters, maar benadrukt dat het reorganisatieplan nog niet klaar is. Het bedrijf neemt ook afstand van het geschatte banenverlies. Audi is nog in gesprek met de vakbonden.

Lees ook
Na gitzwart 2018 volgt een minstens zo moeilijk 2019 voor de Duitse auto-industrie

Risico
Schot is op 1 januari officieel bij Audi begonnen en voerde in zijn carrière al verschillende reorganisaties door. De bedrijfskundige wil dat Audi meer risico gaat nemen en sneller beslissingen maakt, zegt hij tegen Manager Magazin. De reorganisatie moet het bedrijf onder andere klaar stomen voor de opmars van elektrische aandrijving.

Dat 2019 een uitdagend jaar voor Audi gaat worden, maakte Schot eind vorig jaar al bekend. De dieselfraude heeft drie jaar na de ontmaskering van VW en dochter Audi nog steeds grote gevolgen. Het bedrijf kampt met teruglopende verkopen en loopt achter met aanpassingen en goedkeuring van modellen aan de nieuwe Europese emissienormen.

Lees ook
Automan Bram Schot vol gas naar toppositie Audi

Audi heeft wereldwijd in totaal 91.700 mensen in dienst, meldt Reuters. Daarvan zijn er ongeveer 61.500 werkzaam in Duitsland.

fd.nl/ondernemen/1286867/audi-gaat-15...
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Dr Stephan Wollenstein appointed as Volkswagen brand Board of Management

Dr Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO of the Volkswagen brand in China, has been appointed to the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand effective February 1, 2019. Dr Stephan Wöllenstein holds a doctorate in business administration and has been with the Group for 23 years. He joined the Volkswagen brand in 1995, holding various management posts in Sales and Marketing. He became Deputy Executive Director of SAIC Volkswagen in Shanghai in 2004, and held responsibility for the Group’s Product Line Small at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg from 2007. He moved to FAW-VW in Changchun in 2012 as Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Volkswagen brand. As CEO of the Volkswagen brand in Beijing, he has managed business in China since 2016.

Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, said that “Dr. Stephan Wöllenstein has many years of experience in China and successfully developed the Volkswagen brand’s business in China in his former function. Going forward, he will play a key role in representing the interests of our company’s most important single market on the Volkswagen brand Board of Management in his capacity as CEO of Volkswagen Group China.”

In addition to his responsibilities as a member of the brand Board of Management and CEO of the brand in China, Wöllenstein also took charge of the Volkswagen Group’s operating business in China as CEO of Volkswagen (China) Investment Co Ltd effective January 1, 2019.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Volkswagen invests in US start up Forge Nano

The Volkswagen Group is investing USD 10 million in the startup “Forge Nano Inc.” with a view to reinforcing its specialist knowledge in the field of battery research. Forge Nano is investigating a material coating technology that could further improve the performance of battery materials. As a partner, Volkswagen will provide support for industrial trials of this technology. The transaction is still subject to approval by the authorities.

Volkswagen has been collaborating with Forge Nano on advanced battery material research since 2014. The startup with headquarters in Louisville, Colorado, is investigating processes for scaling atomic layer deposition to create new core-shell materials, especially for battery applications. ALD is a chemical process for applying atomic scale coatings one atom at a time. With its specific ALD technology, Forge Nano aims to boost energy density of vehicle battery cells. For example, a higher energy density would have positive effects on the range of electric vehicles. Volkswagen has been lending their automotive and battery expertise towards Forge Nano’s applied research efforts.

The Volkswagen Group is consistently forging ahead with its electric offensive and intends to offer more than 50 battery-electric models by 2025, accounting for about a fifth of its entire model portfolio. To safeguard this approach, Volkswagen is cooperating with strategic battery cell suppliers and developing its own specialist know-how in battery research. This also includes targeted venture investments. Volkswagen is increasingly investing in international start-ups to bring innovative technologies forward to production maturity together.

Dr Axel Heinrich, Head of Volkswagen Group Research, said that “At Volkswagen, we want to be the world’s leading provider of e-mobility. We are continually expanding the battery technology know-how required for this purpose. We need to safeguard our technological competence for the future. Cooperation with start-ups is a key element in these efforts. We are acting as a partner to Forge Nano and intend to provide the team with opportunities to carry out industrial trials with its innovative technology.”

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Volkswagen celebrates five millionth Tiguan

Volkswagen can already celebrate an impressive production anniversary right at the start of 2019: in the middle of January, the five millionth Tiguan left the assembly line at the Wolfsburg plant. The compact Tiguan has enjoyed worldwide success since its market launch in 2007, and has thus made a valuable contribution to the brand’s growth strategy and SUV offensive. The harmonious design concept of the Tiguan and Tiguan Allspace (since 2017) has been enthusiastically received by customers all over the world. The Tiguan stands for striking exterior and interior design, state-of-the art technologies and outstanding all-round characteristics. The just under 800,000 Tiguan and Tiguan Allspace vehicles delivered in 2018 are proof of the popularity and success of the compact SUV.

Dr Andreas Tostmann, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Production: “The Tiguan has passed the historic mark of five million vehicles produced. The know-how of our team, the exceptional team spirit and the enthusiasm with which we produce our Volkswagen models form the basis for this magnificent success and provide a strong foundation for our SUV strategy.”

Mr Bernd Osterloh chairman of the General and Group Works Council said that “The Tiguan secures the jobs of tens of thousands of highly qualified workers around the world and makes a significant contribution to earnings. For this reason, it is important that we do not reduce our investments in the development and production of the Tiguan, as we should seek to inspire our customers with this car well into the future.”

Production of the Tiguan started in 2007 in the main plant in Wolfsburg and represented the beginning of the success story of this compact SUV. More than 120,000 units already left the assembly line in the first full year of production in 2008. This was followed by steep continuous growth – in 2015, more than 500,000 Tiguan had already been sold worldwide.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Volkswagen develops automotive industry in Ethiopia

Volkswagen brand continues its engagement in emerging countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the presence of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Thomas Schaefer, Head of the Volkswagen Sub-Saharan Africa Region, and the Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, Mr Abebe Abebayehu. Thereby, Volkswagen is taking the fast development of the country into account. Over the last ten years, the GDP growth rate in Ethiopia was above 8 percent one of the highest worldwide. Moreover, Ethiopia is a priority and focus country for Germany under the G20-“Compact with Africa” initiative.

Volkswagen will focus on four key pillars: the establishment of a vehicle assembly facility, localization of automotive components, introduction of mobility concepts such as app-based car sharing and ride hailing as well as the opening of a training center. As such, Volkswagen will work closely with the Ethiopian higher education and training institutions for skills development and capacity building of local talent.

Mr Schaefer commented that “As one of the fastest growing economies and with the second highest population in the continent, Ethiopia is an ideal country to advance our Sub-Saharan Africa development strategy. Additionally, Volkswagen intends on tapping into existing expertise and strategic resources in Ethiopian to establish a thriving automotive components industry.”

Ethiopia becomes the third country in Sub-Saharan Africa to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Volkswagen. It follows Ghana and Nigeria who both signed MoUs with Volkswagen in August 2018. In Ghana, Volkswagen will establish a vehicle assembly facility and conduct a feasibility study for an integrated mobility solutions concept. In Nigeria, Volkswagen implemented a phased approach of vehicle assembly with long term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub in West Africa.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Volkswagen verkoopt opnieuw mondiaal de meeste auto's

Hete Duitse Volkswagen heeft in 2018 voor het vijfde achtereenvolgende jaar mondiaal de meeste auto's verkocht. Zo blijkt woensdag uit berekeningen van persbureau Reuters van de autoverkopen.

Volkswagen zag het volume van de verkopen met 0,9% stijgen tot 10,83 miljoen. Daaronder vallen echter ook de verkopen van vrachtwagens, zoals van Man en Scania. Worden die niet meegerekend, dan zijn er 10,6 miljoen auto's verkocht.

Overige fabrikanten
Dat zijn wel minder 'lichte auto's' dan de 10,76 miljoen die Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi er vorig jaar verkocht. Deze alliantie verkoopt echter geen vrachtwagens. Nissan zag het volume van de verkopen met 2,8% dalen tot 5,65 miljoen, voor Mitsubihi was er een plus van 17% tot 1,22 miljoen stijgen, terwijl Renault met 3,88 miljoen auto's 3,2% meer verkocht. De alliantie verkeert al enige tijd in zwaar weer. Onlangs werd topman Carlos Ghosn gearresteerd op beschuldiging van financieel wangedrag.

Toyota bleef staan op de derde plaats met 10,59 miljoen verlopen vorig jaar.

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Volkswagen to cut staff in Slovakia for first time

Volkswagen's business in Slovakia, the country's biggest car plant and largest private sector employer, plans to reduce staff this year for the first time since the 2009 global downturn as part of an efficiency drive. The business will return some 500 workers it had borrowed from the Hungarian unit of premium brand Audi in 2016, reduce the number of contractors and will not extend expiring fixed-term contracts.

Volkswagen to cut staff in Slovakia for first time in a decade Volkswagen employs around 14,000 people in Slovakia and the German automaker did not say what that figure would fall to.

The Slovak business will also reduce the number of production shifts that make higher-end SUVs as well as cheaper small family cars including the Volkswagen e-up!, the only electric car currently made in Slovakia.

There are no plans to place production of new electric vehicles at the Bratislava factory at the moment, it added.

There are no cuts in overall output projections, as reduced hours will be offset by an increase in the technical capacity of production lines, it said.

Volkswagen said the move was part of a drive to increase efficiencies by 30 percent by 2025, as it strives to fund a costly shift to electric and self-driving vehicles following a 2015 scandal over rigged emissions tests of diesel engines.

In 2017, Volkswagen Slovakia saw its first-ever strike that ended after six days with a wage deal that gave workers the biggest pay rise among Slovakia's carmakers, although they still earn less than Volkswagen's employees in Germany.

Overall production at Slovakia's four car factories the bedrock of the export-dependent euro zone member country's economy rose to 1.08 million vehicles in 2018 and is expected to reach a 1.15 million this year, cementing its position as the world's biggest per-capita car producer, the country's car association said this month.

But a focus on traditional petrol and diesel cars and a low share of research and development activities could threaten Slovakia's business model in coming years, as the EU aims to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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VW China CEO to join VW brand's management board

Automotive News reported that Volkswagen Group has named VW China CEO Mr Stephan Woellenstein to the VW brand's management board. VW Group Chairman Herbert Diess said in a statement that “Woellenstein has many years' work experience in China and has successfully expanded the VW brand's business in China.”

Mr Diess added that the appointment will allow him to "play a key role in the board of management of the Volkswagen brand going forward.”

It is the second promotion Mr Woellenstein received this month. He was appointed VW Group's China CEO while retaining the job of China CEO for the VW brand.

Source : Automotive News
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