VW CEO: 2012 will be considerably harder image

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, in an interview with German daily Handelsblatt, on Monday said that 2012 will be a tougher year for Europe’s largest carmaker as demand for new vehicles in Europe is falling.

“There’s no question that 2012 will be considerably harder, mostly in Europe and there particularly in the highly indebted countries such as Italyand Spain,” Martin Winterkorn said on Monday.

However, the German group will raise its global workforce by 51,000 to 500,000 by the end of 2012 the executive said last week.

Matthias Mueller, CEO of Porsche’s car-making unit, expects an increase of 1,200 jobs, Bild said. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said the company plans to hire 10,000 new workers by 2020, according to the newspaper.

In addition, Winterkorn reaffirmed his refusal to sell VW’s stake in Suzuki Motor, after the Japanese automaker on November 18 demanded the German auto giant sell back its stake.

The company (Suzuki) said it would seek arbitration if Volkswagen refused to sell the 112.21 million shares, or 19.89 percent of Suzuki, to the Japanese small-car maker or a third party it designates.

In other news, is confident of selling more than 2mln cars in China this year and expects its growth to be faster than the industry’s pace in the coming years in China, according to co.’s China chief.