The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand


» The first step has been taken, but... «

The strategic realignment of the Volkswagen brand is taking effect. CEO Herbert Diess reviews the positive interim results after one year of TRANSFORM 2025+ and the Pact for the Future. However, the 59-year-old also says: “There are still huge challenges ahead of us. In principle, we have completed the first five kilometers of a marathon race.” We look at the five most important action areas.

Left to right: CFO Arno Antlitz, brand CEO Herbert Diess and Sales Director Jürgen Stackmann at the annual press conference in Wolfsburg.


In spite of the worldwide model offensive and the associated product range expansion, Volkswagen has kept its fixed costs stable. The Pact for the Future, which was entered into a year ago, has contributed to increasing competitiveness. It stipulated that savings and efficiency improvements in all divisions and locations reach a positive result to the tune of €3.7 billion annually starting in 2020. A total of €1.9 billion has been reached since the Pact for the Future began a year ago, and additional concrete measures are in the process of being implemented. Volkswagen is also making progress with regard to the reduction of jobs in a socially responsible manner. So far in 2017 there has been a reduction of 3,800 jobs. The target set within the scope of the Pact for the Future for a total of 9,200 signed part-time retirement agreements to be effective incrementally by 2020 is expected to be attained by the end of this year. In addition, the 7.5 percent increase in productivity aspired to at the German locations for 2017 was largely achieved. “We will continue on this course of action in order to boost and secure the level of returns over the long term − even though the cost of reaching stricter CO2 targets and our expenditures for investments in the future are expected to increase substantially in the coming years,” says chief financial officer Arno Antlitz.

Brand positioning

With the model offensive, the brand is pursuing the goal of becoming the most appealing high-volume brand in all the important world regions by 2020. In order to achieve this, Volkswagen has, through its regionalization strategy, strengthened the central regions in terms of organizational structure and handed them more responsibility − including with regard to the product portfolio. As a result, the new models are even more tailored to the wishes of the respective local customers. “Volkswagen is on the offensive again in all its core markets. We have managed to turn things around with our attractive models,” says board member for sales Jürgen Stackmann. “And we have only just started our model offensive. Our product pipeline is chock full for the next few years.”

Turnaround in the regions

In the important U.S. market, Volkswagen is pursuing the goal of becoming a relevant high-volume brand. To this end, four new SUVs are planned by 2020 for North America alone. In South America, Volkswagen has rejuvenated its range of models significantly and is striving to regain its market leadership – for example with the recently introduced compact model Virtus. In China the brand aims to secure its market leadership with, among other things, more than ten new SUVs by 2020 − and also assume a top position in the leading global market for e-mobility. Volkswagen will be bringing more than ten new electrically powered models to the market to achieve those aims. The first signs of success from the realignment in the regions are already being reflected in the sales figures: from January to November deliveries to customers in China rose by around 5.2 percent, in the United States by 8.3 percent, and in Brazil by more than 22.1 percent compared to the same period last year. In Russia the brand increased deliveries by 18.7 percent, reaching the breakeven point considerably earlier than planned.

New expertise

To be in good shape for the future, Volkswagen is developing new capabilities − especially in the areas of digitalization and e-mobility. A total of 9,000 new jobs will be created in future-oriented fields over the coming years. In addition, comprehensive qualification programs to prepare the workforce for the coming challenges have already begun. Volkswagen has also been expanding its ability to reach customers directly, which is essential for providing a completely digital customer experience. With its “future sales model,” Volkswagen has redefined its cooperation with trade partners around the world, thereby establishing the organizational foundations for the mobility services of tomorrow.

Model offensive

This year Volkswagen has brought ten new models to the market, including five completely new ones without predecessors. The emphasis of the model offensive is on the SUV segment, with new models including the Tiguan Allspace, Atlas and T-Roc. The new models have been well received by customers. “In total we will have sold well over six million vehicles this year, and will most likely set a new sales record,” says Herbert Diess. Volkswagen will expand the number of SUVs it sells to 20 models worldwide by 2020. Around 40 percent of all Volkswagen cars sold by that time are expected to be SUVs.