Auto industry: Volkswagen’s sales have fallen back to 2011 levels

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The front of the ID.6 electric SUV. The Group’s e-car sales almost doubled compared to the previous year.

(Photo: Reuters)

Düsseldorf The global shortage of chips is leaving a clear mark on Volkswagen’s sales figures. Last year, the Wolfsburg-based group managed around 8.9 million vehicle deliveries, falling to the level of 2011. That is even weaker than in the first Corona year 2020, when the VW Group sold around 9.3 million vehicles worldwide . In 2019, without a pandemic and a lack of chips, there were 10.9 million deliveries.

“2021 was very challenging due to the global shortage of semiconductors,” said Volkswagen sales director Christian Dahlheim on Wednesday about the sales result for the past year. The fact that the VW Group has doubled the proportion of fully electric vehicles (BEV) sold during the past twelve months from 2.5 to 5.1 percent is proof that “we are on the right track.” Volkswagen wants the transformation continue with electromobility and digitization in the new year.

The VW Group had set itself a BEV share of between five and six percent of total sales as a sales target for 2021. With around 453,000 pure electric cars sold worldwide (or 5.1 percent), Volkswagen only reached the lower limit of this interval. The lack of chips also played a role in the case of electric cars last year, as the Wolfsburg-based company was unable to keep to the original production plan. Individual BEV model variants have simply not been offered for months.

In addition, Volkswagen suffered unexpected setbacks in some sales regions, particularly in China. The core brand Volkswagen Passenger Cars originally wanted to sell between 80,000 and 100,000 copies of its new fully electric ID model series there last year. At the end of December, Volkswagen Passenger Cars in China had sold just over 70,000 ID vehicles.

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In the People’s Republic, the Wolfsburg-based group underestimated the strong new competition in the rapidly growing electronics market. Tesla is doing much better there than its competitor from Germany. In addition, new Chinese electrical brands such as Nio or Xpeng are achieving noticeable sales successes. The ID models from Volkswagen do not always offer what Chinese customers want, especially when it comes to digital equipment.

VW brand boss Brandstätter should stabilize business in China

In the summer, the current VW brand boss Ralf Brandstätter is going to Beijing as the new China board member. It should first stabilize the sales figures there again and then bring them up. The People’s Republic is the most important sales region for the Wolfsburg-based company. They sell around 40 percent of all their vehicles there.

Despite the significant drop in sales, the VW Group will very likely be able to present decent earnings at the end of February. “Surprisingly, almost all car manufacturers are likely to increase their operating profit compared to 2019,” expects Frank Schwope, automotive analyst at NordLB in Hanover. A new record could also be achieved at Volkswagen.

All car manufacturers around the world are benefiting from the high demand and the sharp rise in prices. In Germany, for example, Volkswagen was able to afford three price increases in the past year. At the same time, most automakers don’t currently need discounts or other discount programs to drive sales up.

Within its own group, Volkswagen has also ensured that the high-margin premium brands such as Porsche, Bentley and Audi are supplied much better with scarce semiconductors. That’s why Porsche achieved a sales increase of almost eleven percent last year, and Bentley even 31 percent. Audi only posted a small minus of 0.7 percent.

In contrast, the important volume brands such as Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Skoda had to give up a lot. At VW, the drop in sales for the past year is a good eight percent, at Skoda in the Czech Republic it is even more than twelve percent.

More: Tesla at the forefront, VW ID.3 is losing ground – the ten most popular electric cars in Germany

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