The German automaker, the second largest in the world currently, seems to be bracing itself for a troublesome year, following reports on the January sales at its namesake brand – the biggest by sales and revenue.
The challenges ahead for 2015 have already been set in motion since the first month, with the Volkswagen passenger car brand saying the sales have slipped now for the fourth month in a row – with demand slowing in what were their best markets: Europe and China. VW-branded cars had January deliveries total 507,100 units, a slide of 2.8 percent over the same period a year ago – though in 2014 the brand did achieve a record of sales. Europe and China account together as almost three quarters of the VW brand’s tally of 2014, a record breaking 6.12 million unit-sales, but in January the two markets fell by 1 percent and 0.7 percent respectively to 124,900 and 265,900 autos, according to a company statement. “We are facing a challenging year,” commented sales boss Christian Klingler. “VW was not immune to the uncertainties in some regions that have continued into the current year.”
So far, the biggest worry in Europe seems to be Russia, where the continued economic crisis brought by the slumping local currency has taken down the auto sales, with the VW brand diving 28 percent to 6,200 vehicles. Volkswagen, which is also Europe’s largest auto manufacturer, managed to sell a total of 10.14 million units across all of the group’s brands last year. On the other hand, dissatisfied with the earnings margin at the VW brand, the carmaker pledged to shed costs by 5 billion euros ($5.66 billion) over the next two years.