The Board of Management of Volkswagen AG expects 2009 to be a very difficult year for the automotive industry. Volkswagen will be unable to escape this trend, but will still perform better than the market as a whole. It is not possible to make reliable forecasts at present because of the continued substantial uncertainty about future market developments. For this reason, we will take a flexible and forward-looking approach to current developments and address them comprehensively as they arise.
In past years, we have made good progress in increasing our competitiveness and profitability as well as improving our processes. This has led to higher margins and earnings contributions by our products and provided a solid financial base.
Along with our unique brand portfolio, young model range, broad international operations with local value added in key regions, synergies in the Group-wide development of models and new technologies, and financial strength, we believe that we are well positioned for this difficult situation.
We are reacting to the decline in sales volumes with our flexible working time models. This is flanked by a reduction in temporary employment and the introduction of short-time working in specific areas. The cutback in production also serves to shrink stockpiled inventories and thus reflects the unexpectedly strong decline in demand in the second half of 2008.
Despite the uncertain operating environment in 2009, we are holding fast to the goals of our “Strategy 2018”.