Matthias Müller can add Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Audi to his resume, after the head of VW was appointed to the subsidiary position.
Before Porsche CEO Matthias Müller was promoted to the Volkswagen Group supervisory board, he made remarks on his potential as a successor to Group CEO Martin Winterkorn. His comments were taken to mean he wasn't interested in the job, but he now says his words were misunderstood.
Although there were hints and allegations that the Volkswagen Group might have taken the global sales crown for 2014, the final tally puts Toyota at the top for the third year in a row with 10.23 million sales in 2014. Volkswagen Group came second with 10.14 million units sold, General Motors came third with 9.92 million units sold. In 2015, however, the top two positions are expected to swap.
Following on Volkswagen's official announcement that it was working on a ten-speed, dual-clutch transmission, Auto Express has it on "good authority" that the new transmission will end up in the next GTI, GTD and Golf R. The brand's current seven-speed will be retained for lesser eight-generation Golfs.
Volkswagen Group has sacked – well, he left "by mutual agreement," at any rate – its production chief, Michael Macht, marking the second executive dispatched by the automaker in the last week. Macht, pictured above, left, with VW Group Chairman Martin Winterkorn, was the man responsible for overseeing the introduction of VW's extremely important MQB platform, which will underpin a huge array of vehicles in the coming years.
During a gathering of 20,000 Volkswagen Group employees at company headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany on Wednesday, CEO Martin Winterkorn dropped a bombshell. The boss stated that the automaker isn't operating efficiently enough and admitted the company needs to radically start cutting back to raise its profit margins. To right the ship, Winterkorn has proposed killing off less profitable models and spending less on research and development.
Financially, things are looking up for Volkswagen Group overall, yet deliveries are still falling in the Americas. Worldwide, the automotive giant's profits after taxes rose 26.8 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to 2.47 billion euros ($3.4 billion). Total sales revenue was up 2.7 percent to 47.8 billion euro ($66 billion).
Volkswagen Group believes it can sell over 10 million vehicles in 2014, with hopes of overtaking Toyota as the world's largest automaker in the process. If VW can do it, it would meet that goal four years earlier than planned. Of course, Toyota isn't sitting still – it also hopes to top the 10 million-car threshold this year and has the advantage of already holding the top spot.
It's a good time to be in the luxury car business. In Volkswagen Group's financial report for the 2013 fiscal year, it is revealed that that Porsche enjoyed an operating margin of 18 percent. That means the Stuttgart brand made on average about $23,200 per car sold, according to BusinessWeek. Bentley wasn't far behind, and Audi (which was combined with Lamborghini) posted a 10.1 percent margin. This compares to only around 2.9 percent for the Volkswagen brand.
J.D. Power has just revealed the results of its 2013 APEAL Study, which looks at which brands have the most appealing cars based on sales figures, dealer inventory, brand loyalty, transaction and trade-in prices. The study was revamped for 2013, and places a larger focus on the new tech and infotainment options available to customers. All told, study participants gauged their vehicles on 77 different attributes, delivering a score out of a 1,000 points.