Earnings of 1986 € – Every Hour for VW CEO Martin Winterkorn image

This week, the remuneration of Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn was made public: €17.4 million, or €1,986 an hour.

Although 2012 is expected to be a difficult year, German carmakers have made provisions, selling more vehicles and earning more than ever before. In 2011 VW’s income reached €15.8 billion, more than twice as much as 2010. German carmakers BMW, Daimler, Audi and Porsche also broke records in 2011, thanks to booming markets in Asia and America. It seems that the German auto industry managed to recover from the financial global crisis faster and stronger than expected.

But there is also bad news. The money will be needed in the coming months, to deal with the continuing European debt crisis and also to develop new technology. VW plans to invest €62.4 billion by 2016, two-thirds of which is ear-marked for making the company greener as well as bigger.

“Looking into the future one can certainly not talk of it being all flowers and sunshine,” declared Audi chairman of the board Rupert Stadler.

Not only the CEOs but also the workers have taken advantage of the good results, with Daimler receiving a profits-share of €4,100 for 2011, those working for Audi getting on average €8,251 and VW employees getting a bonus of €7,500.