As Europe’s biggest vehicle producer, Volkswagen had so far escaped the Europe’s financial woes thanks to steady growth in the US and China, the Handelsblatt newspaper said on Friday.
But 2013 looks likely to be different, as board chairman Christian Klingler has apparently slashed 300,000 cars from the 9.7 million target for 2012, the paper said.
Quoting company sources, the paper said around 250,000 of these vehicles had been expected to be made in Europe, where other car companies like General Motors-owned Opel have been announcing widespread production cuts. Unlike Volkswagen, Opel does not have a flourishing overseas market to help support it.
The reductions are expected to kick in towards the end of autumn, leaving the total vehicles produced in 2012 at 9.4 million. This is still an increase on 2011, when the company churned out 8.4 million vehicles – 15 percent more than in 2010.
Volkswagen aims to produce at least 10 million vehicles per year by 2018. The reduction in 2012’s targets signal that they are still growing but just at a slower rate than they may have hoped for.
Analysts had, the Handelsblatt said, predicted even larger reductions for the year – suggesting Volkswagen might bring down its target to nine million.
Despite Handelsblatt claiming access to internal information, a spokesman from the company refused to confirm or deny the reduction. “We do not comment on speculation,” he told the paper.