In 2012, the global economy grew at a slower pace than in the prior year. We expect global growth to continue in 2013 in spite of the economic uncertainty. The industrialized nations will probably record only low rates of expansion. In Southern Europe, we anticipate that the recessionary trend will continue for the time being. The emerging markets in Asia and Latin America will see the greatest momentum.
Global demand for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2013 looks set to rise more slowly than in the reporting period. We are forecasting that the overall downturn in the Western European market will continue, with the German market also remaining below its 2012 level. The pace of growth in Central and Eastern Europe will decrease. The markets in the Asia-Pacific region that are strategically important for the Volkswagen Group are again expected to record higher-than-average growth rates in 2013. While we expect to see encouraging development in the North American market, demand in South America will stagnate.
We anticipate that in 2013 the overall volume of trucks and buses in the markets that are relevant for the Volkswagen Group will remain at the same level as in 2012.
Demand for mobility-related financial services is likely to rise further in 2013.
The Volkswagen Group’s unique brand portfolio covering almost all segments from motorcycles through subcompact cars to heavy trucks and buses, its steadily growing presence in all major markets in the world and its wide range of financial services give us decisive competitive advantages. We offer an extensive range of environmentally friendly, cutting-edge, high-quality vehicles for all markets and customer groups that is unparalleled in the industry. In 2013, the Volkswagen Group’s brands will launch a large number of fascinating new models and so help further expand our strong position in the global markets.
We expect that the Volkswagen Group will outperform the market as a whole in a challenging environment and that deliveries to customers will increase year-on-year. However, we are not completely immune to the intense competition and the impact this has on business. The modular toolkit system, which is being continuously expanded, will have an increasingly positive effect on the Group’s cost structure.
We expect the Volkswagen Group’s 2013 sales revenue to exceed the prior-year figure. Given the ongoing uncertainty in the economic environment, the Group’s goal for operating profit is to match the prior-year level in 2013. This applies equally to the Passenger Cars Business Area, the Commercial Vehicles, Power Engineering Business Area – which remains affected by high write-downs relating to purchase price allocation, among other things – and the Financial Services Division. While we shall see positive effects from our attractive model range and strong market position, there will also be increasingly stiff competition in a challenging market environment. Disciplined cost and investment management and the continuous optimization of our processes remain an integral part of our Strategy 2018.
Wolfsburg, February 12, 2013
The Board of Management
This report contains forward-looking statements on the business development of the Volkswagen Group. These statements are based on assumptions relating to the development of the economic and legal environment in individual countries and economic regions, and in particular for the automotive industry, which we have made on the basis of the information available to us and which we consider to be realistic at the time of going to press. The estimates given entail a degree of risk, and the actual developments may differ from those forecast. Consequently, any unexpected fall in demand or economic stagnation in our key sales markets, such as Western Europe (and especially Germany) or in the USA, Brazil, China, or Russia will have a corresponding impact on the development of our business. The same applies in the event of a significant shift in current exchange rates, mostly against the euro and primarily in US dollars, sterling, Chinese renminbi, Russian rubles, Swedish kronor, Mexican pesos, Australian dollars and Korean won. In addition, expected business developments may vary if this report’s assessments of value-enhancing factors and risks develop in a way other than we are currently expecting.