Following the severe slump in the global economy in 2009, we expect positive growth rates in most countries this year. We see the greatest potential in the emerging markets, whereas the industrialized nations will experience only a moderate upturn. However, the withdrawal of economic stimulus programs in a number of countries and continued restrictive credit policies entail uncertainties that could hurt that recovery.
Impacted by the ongoing uncertainty surrounding economic developments, the global automotive markets are expected to be slightly above the prior-year level in 2010, with the performance of the large automotive markets varying considerably. In Western Europe, particularly Germany, we expect demand to be much weaker, whereas the Chinese market will continue to grow at a strong pace. We also anticipate that the markets in Central and Eastern Europe will be able to stabilize at a low level and that the North American market will start to recover slightly. We assume that the South American market will exceed the high prior-year volume.
Our presence in all the key regions around the world, the multi-brand strategy, our technological expertise and the most up-to-date, most environmentally friendly and broadest vehicle range that has resulted from that expertise are key advantages for our Company. In 2010, the Volkswagen Group’s nine brands will unveil a large number of new models, thus systematically extending our position in the global markets. We therefore anticipate that our deliveries to customers will be higher than in 2009.
The Group’s sales revenue and operating profit for 2010 are expected to exceed the prior-year figures despite a shift in volumes between the markets. Interest and exchange rate volatility will remain a drag on profit. We will continue to focus on disciplined cost and investment management and the continuous optimization of our processes. In doing so, we will systematically pursue the core elements of the “18 plus” strategy – ecological relevance and the return on our vehicle projects.
Wolfsburg, February 16, 2010
The Board of Management
Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz
Hans Dieter Pötsch