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by Stephan Bauer, Euro am Sonntag
HErbert Diess spreads a spirit of optimism. “This year we expect that we will overcome the Covid crisis and that the demand will increase in the second half of the year,” says the VW boss when presenting the balance sheet for 2020. The automotive company steered through the Corona with bumps, but without a crash -Year. Vehicle sales fell by 15 percent to 9.3 million, the brand portfolio from Audi to Skoda However, he did well. The Wolfsburg-based company now has a 13 percent share of the world market, a little more than last year.
Skid marks can already be seen in the balance sheet: The operating profit collapsed by 45 percent, the operating return on the auto business fell from 7.6 to 4.8 percent. The operating net cash inflow also shrank from 10.8 to 6.4 billion euros.
The fact that things did not go any worse in the crisis year is mainly due to the big contribution made by a premium brand: Porsche. The Zuffenhausen-based company alone contributed 4.9 of the total of 10.6 billion euros in operating profit before special items.
The operating margin of the sports car brand reached 15.4 percent, thanks in part to the success of the first fully electric Taycan model. AUDI achieved a return of 5.5 percent, not including around two billion euros in diesel costs. The trend is generally pointing upwards, with the fourth quarter already dropping back to the previous year’s level across the Group.
Strength in China
The second trump card for Wolfsburg is China. In the world’s largest car market, the group sold 3.8 million vehicles, accounting for 41 percent of total sales. VW is the number 1 automobile in China with a 19.3 percent market share. Because of the shareholding structure, the pro rata two billion euros in profit flow into the Group’s financial result.
Cash can really use Diess, after all, the company is in the middle of converting to electromobility. Wolfsburg plans to invest 150 billion euros in the transformation by 2025. Diess has just announced the battery strategy at the Group’s first “Power Day”: unit cells are to be produced in huge numbers by 2030 in then six “gigafactories” – the Tesla model lets go. The plan is to reduce the cost of the battery, the most expensive component in the electric car, by up to 50 percent by 2030. In addition, the Wolfsburg-based company is developing its own software platform in order to catch up with the global market leader from California.
What boosts the optimism of the Diess team to successfully manage change is also its financial strength. Despite Corona and the diesel affair, which is expected to swallow another two billion euros in addition to the 32 billion euros burned so far, net liquidity has increased. At the end of December, VW had 26.8 billion euros available. Due to the good financial situation, the dividend will also remain stable.
According to Diess, the automotive group margin should steer towards six percent in 2021 through further savings. The VW brand, which achieved a meager 0.6 percent return in 2020, is expected to reach the target of six percent in 2023.
Thrust: Brsians honor them solid numbers and feel the The group’s optimistic mood Towards electromobility. Attractive.
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