2012 was a challenging year in the automotive world. The debt crisis in Europe hit our industry hard. Nevertheless, we can say that 2012 was a good – in fact a very good – year for the Volkswagen Group.
We delivered worldwide – once again topping our prior-year figure by a million. increased by approximately 21 percent to €193 billion. We also did more than keep our promise for our operating profit, despite the economic headwinds: at €11.5 billion, we exceeded last year’s record figure.
The strength of our operations is also paying off on the stock exchange: clearly outperformed both the automotive sector and the DAX as a whole. You, our shareholders, have benefited from this above-average performance. However, we also want your confidence in us to pay off at another level, too, which is why the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board are proposing a clearly increased of €3.50 per ordinary share and €3.56 per preferred share.
“Our pursuit of innovation and perfection and our responsible approach will help to make us the world’s leading automaker by 2018 – both economically and ecologically.”
PROF. DR. MARTIN WINTERKORN,
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT OF VOLKSWAGEN AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT
2012 was more than just a year of strong financial figures for Volkswagen. We also established key strategic milestones for the future. Among other things, we gave our Strategy 2018 additional momentum through a comprehensive structural and management realignment. Since August 1, 2012, the Porsche brand has been a fully-fledged member of the Volkswagen Group – a historic step for both companies. In addition, the purchase of Ducati has expanded our range to include a legendary and valuable motorcycle brand. And the alliance between MAN, Scania and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has laid the groundwork for us to reach for the top in the cyclical but high-margin commercial vehicles business in the future.
A key event in the passenger cars area in 2012 was the introduction of the . The seventh generation of the Golf, the Audi A3, the SEAT Leon and now also the ŠKODA Octavia give a taste of the versatility, innovative power and economic potentials associated with this technical system. We are proud of these vehicles – not least because they set new standards in fuel consumption and emissions. In line with this, we established another key milestone: in early 2012, we launched the most extensive ecological reorganization in the Group’s history. We are systematically focusing our vehicles and our plants on being environmentally friendly and efficient. You can see just how serious we are about this from the fact that the Volkswagen Group is the first carmaker to commit to the extremely ambitious European CO2 target of 95g/km by 2020.
All in all, Volkswagen has proven to be extremely resilient, robust and forward-looking, despite the difficult environment. This is due first and foremost to the 550,000 people now working for our Group, all of whom put their skills and their entire energy at the service of our Company. My colleagues and I on the Board of Management are proud of this team – and we would like to thank them for their hard work and passionate commitment over the past twelve months.
Macroeconomic uncertainties, the ongoing weakness of the European market and ever-increasing competition will continue to create a testing environment for the automotive industry in 2013. I am convinced that Volkswagen is well prepared for this, not least because of the unrivalled global positioning and versatility offered by our twelve brands, 280 models and 100 plants. And because our Group brands and vehicles provide customers with exactly the solidity and enduring value that are more important than ever in times like these.
Regardless of whether there is an upturn or a downturn going on, our goal is to ensure the Volkswagen Group reaches the top of the automotive industry by 2018 – in both economic and ecological terms. We are focusing all our efforts and energy on achieving this goal. I promise you that, in the process, we are keeping our sights firmly on all those who – rightly – expect a lot from us: our customers and employees, our business partners, society, and of course you, our shareholders.
Together, and with your ongoing trust and support, we can continue our successful course with all our strength and vigor.
Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn