Posted By RichC on March 13, 2011
If the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat isn’t up to your family hauling duty, then perhaps a new “van” will be up to the task.
VW Big Profits, Microbus A Go—
The Volkswagen Group is thriving in the post-recession global market and announced the largest profit and revenue in the company’s history, while a European publication reported the company will build a production version of the Bulli concept car that was so widely acclaimed at the recent Geneva motor show.
For the 2010 fiscal year, VW earned a before-tax operating profit of $12.8 billion on revenues of $176.5 billion – both best-ever figures. Revenues increased by 20.6 percent and profit increased by 400 percent compared with 2009, when VW earned $2.5 billion. Included in the operating profit total, the company said, was $1.4 billion earned on exchange-rate differences and $1.5 billion from its Scania truck-making division. In all, the company’s operating profit margin was slightly more than 7 percent.
In addition, the company announced its automotive division’s net liquidity increased by $11.2 billion to an enormous $25.8 billion. “Our strong liquidity position is proof of our Company’s financial solidity and stability. At the same time, it continues to give us the necessary financial flexibility for our investments and to implement our Strategy 2018,” said chief financial officer Hans Dieter Potsch in reference to the company’s corporate plan to become the world’s largest automaker by 2018.
Volkswagen’s high-growth market was China, where sales increased 37.4 percent “to nearly 2 million vehicles.” Deliveries in VW’s home market of Germany, meanwhile, declined by 16.7 percent compared with 2009, although share of the global market increased from 11.2 percent to 11.4 percent in 2010.
Bulli For U.S.
At the same time, Britain’s Autocar reported today that not only will VW build a production version of the Bulli concept (above), the new-generation – though much smaller –interpretation of the company’s celebrated Microbus definitely will be sold in the U.S., tilted directly at the similarly boxy wares of Toyota Motor Corp.’s Scion small-car brand. It is Toyota that VW also seeks to unseat as the world’s No. 1 automaker with its Strategy 2018 initiative.
The company teased with a Microbus throwback concept a decade ago, but Autocar quotes VW research and development chief Ulrich Hackenberg as effectively confirming this latest version, based on the Bulli, for production; it likely will be built at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, alongside the next-generation Beetle. Word from Volkswagen of America at the Geneva show was that the Bulli could go on sale around 2013 with an expected U.S. sales volume of 50,000 units or so a year. No price was revealed.
It had been speculated the company might choose to build the new Transporter at its all-new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., but that site’s expansion likely is earmarked for a higher-volume model or models. The plant is set to build the upcoming midsize Passat sedan.