VW boss refutes Navistar interest


Leif Ostling, member of the board at VW

According to Volkswagen Group board member Leif Ostling, the company’s commercial vehicle brands Scania, MAN and VW will “co-ordinate rather than integrate” as they brace for a slowdown in Europe, Brazil and China.

He said this during an interview with the German press where he also stated, “There are no plans to expand in North America by acquiring US truck maker Navistar.”

Volkswagen Group, which sells roughly half its trucks in Europe, will be also affected by an economic slowdown in America and various emerging economies, Leif stated.

“The European market is not the only one experiencing difficulties. In Brazil too, demand is falling while in China we expect a marked decline compared with last year,” he continued, adding that deliveries had fallen by a quarter.

“So far there are no plans to resort to shortened working hours. Nonetheless Volkswagen wants to continue to expand in India, China and Russia,” Ostling added before saying he also sees more potential for expanding Volkswagen-branded commercial vehicles, such as the Amarok pickup truck, in South East Asian nations.

He said the company hopes to grow its market share between four and five percent per year, depending on the economy.

“Volkswagen could accelerate expansion in China by increased imports or by founding another joint-venture company,” he continued, adding that MAN had already taken such a step by launching Sinotruck in 2009.

The company is also hoping to raise synergies between MAN, Scania and VW commercial vehicles.

“It’s not so much about integrating the companies, as it is about intelligent co-ordination,” Leif insisted, explaining that he enjoys the full support of supervisory board chairman Ferdinand Piech who has pushed for closer integration.

He further said stalling profits at MAN could be countered by expanding its service and maintenance business, particularly since this is an area where Scania has made handsome profits.

In July, Munich-based MAN SE lowered its targeted profit margin and ordered a hiring freeze to counter plunging profits.