Growth is driven by positive developments in the regions. We traditionally do well in China. In the meantime, though, we are also growing worldwide. The turnaround programs are increasingly paying off, particularly in North and South America. We have totally realigned the brand there and given the regions significantly greater responsibility under our regionalization initiative.
The results are good: in the USA we are laying the groundwork to position Volkswagen as a relevant volume brand. With the new Atlas we have entered a key segment of the U.S. automobile market where we were not previously active. Currently, the brand is growing, bucking the market trend, and will keep on expanding its market share until the end of the year.
In Brazil, too, the turnaround program is gaining a foothold. We implemented far-reaching restructuring there and simultaneously invested in new, attractive products. We are setting a new standard in the Brazilian volume segment with the Polo and the Virtus – a Polo-sized sedan developed specifically for South America. Looking to the medium term, we intend to recapture market leadership in Brazil.
By 2020, we want to have positioned Volkswagen as "top of volume" in all major regions of the world. Each new model will underpin our claim to a leading position for quality and technology in the volume segment.
Finally, we are also making progress in terms of costs and productivity.
We have kept our fixed costs stable in spite of the model offensive. Additional costs – for example, from wage increases – have been offset by cutting costs in other areas. We are also making good progress with implementing the "Zukunftspakt", but challenges still lie ahead of us. One such challenge is productivity.
Productivity at the german components plants in particular has improved significantly, and some of the targets agreed in the "Zukunftspakt" have even been exceeded.