Volkswagen Group “will be a role model in environmental protection, safety and integrity”, according to CEO Matthias Muller, who was speaking as the firm confirmed a record-breaking sales year in 2016.
Outlining plans for the firm to reinvent itself as a far-reaching mobility company in the wake of the dieselgate scandal, Muller revealed VW Group sold 10.3m cars in 2016, making it the world’s largest car manufacturer. It made €7.1bn euro (£6.2bn) in profit after allowances including €6.4bn (£5.6bn) of losses to cover dieselgate costs. In 2015 expenses relating to dieselgate amounted to €16.2bn (£14.2bn).
Most notably its sales in China, where the effects of the diesel crisis were negligible, grew 12.2%. 2017 sales revenues of €217.3bn (£190.4b) also exceeded forecasts by €4bn (£3.5bn).
“The last year was challenging yet remarkably successful,” said VW Group CEO Matthias Muller. “In 2016 we set the course for the biggest transformation in the history of the company - while at the same time performing better in our operating business than many thought possible.. Volkswagen is back on track.”
Muller vowed that the success would be a catalyst for further change, adding: “We will still be one of the most successful automakers in 2025. But we will also be a leading international provider of sustainable mobility and set the standard for new mobility services.”
New initiatives include a stated goal of taking leadership in the field of battery technology by 2025, when the VW Group has committed to have solid state batteries in production. These are seen as the next technological step over the lithium ion batteries currently favoured by most manufacturers. The VW Grioup has committed to have 30 battery-electric vehicles on sale by 2025.