How VW plans to rule the world

By Matt Greenop

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Volkswagen has outlined its plan for global domination. The company's roster of nine brands - including Audi, Skoda, Seat and Bentley - faces an uphill scrap against giants General Motors and Toyota, the present industry kings, as it seeks to become the world's top manufacturer.

Its grand plan will see a whopping 62.4 billion ($105.75 billion) investment - the equivalent of four million base-model Polos - which has already been approved by the 20-member board of the parent company.

Chief executive Martin Winterkorn made the bold ambition very clear following the board's approval.

"The Volkswagen Group is investing a record amount in forward-looking projects to achieve its goal of becoming the world's best automobile manufacturer," he said. "Top of the agenda for us are investments in environmentally friendly, sustainable models and drives."

The money will be split between upgrading plants, new vehicles and R&D between 2012 and 2016.

The four-year plan comes hot on the heels of two pieces of bad news for the group. These involve the on-again, off-again purchase of Porsche and the future of its alliance with fast-growing Japanese brand Suzuki.

The Porsche deal has seemingly been put into neutral despite assurances that it was all go.

The company maintains that the 911 should be in its spiritual home next to the Beetle by the end of next year.

Volkswagen's $2.8 billion alliance with Suzuki is a different story, with the company putting Suzuki on formal notice over an "infringement" concerning the supply of diesel engines. Watch this volatile space.

Will Volkswagen rule the world? With some very clever next-generation technology and more than $100 billion to play with, Toyota and GM should be taking the threat very seriously. Matt Greenop, online motoring editor

- NZ Herald

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