Volkswagen CEO expects September delivery growth to continue

MUNICH • Volkswagen AG’s (VW) CEO Herbert Diess said the carmaker’s September orders were stronger than last year and that he expects the positive trend to continue in the fourth quarter.

In a sign that the world’s biggest carmaker is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic that sent car sales plummeting, Diess also reaffirmed the company’s target of positive operating profit for the year.

“The restructuring of the company has not been slowed down by Covid-19, but accelerated,” Diess said in prepared remarks at the company’s annual shareholder meeting yesterday.

The pandemic has left the global car sector mired in the worst crisis in decades, just as it faces pressure to invest in new technology as the combustion era draws to a close. For the first eight months of the year, deliveries are still down 21.5%.

VW’s Traton trucks unit is in the middle of both a major restructuring at its MAN Energy Solutions unit and an attempt to acquire Navistar International Corp, and recently sweetened its offer for its US rival to US$3.6 billion (RM15.12 billion).

In his comments yesterday, Diess called the possible takeover an “important step”, suggesting VW is determined to push the deal through.

At the shareholder’s meeting, Diess is trying to convince investors that the electric offensive he’s

started will help the company compete with the likes of Tesla Inc. Shareholders, by contrast, will focus their questions on other matters, notably a criminal trial taking place on the same day. Prosecutors yesterday will begin presenting their cases against former Audi chief Rupert Stadler and other officials for alleged roles in the diesel gate scandal. — Bloomberg