The two-day meeting of Volkswagen's supervisory board ended with the subdued endorsement of CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder (at right) and his ForMotion restructuring plan, with a pronouncement by chairman Ferdinand Piech approving a five-year extension to Pischetsrieder's contract seemingly likely.

Perhaps responding to saber-rattling by Germany's powerful unions, the board gave lukewarm approval to the restructuring program that threatens up to 20,000 jobs at VW's German plants. Meanwhile, a German newspaper cited VW sources as saying that fully half of the jobs (a total of 50,000) at the company's plants in western Germany are redundant. There seems little chance that VW will shift production to its underutilized German plants - the company confirmed that not only did it not plan to close its manufacturing facility in Belgium, but it is going ahead with plans to build a new facility in Russia, with capacity for 115,000 vehicles a year.

[Source: Reuters, Volkswagen AG]