Speaking to over 10,000 employees in Hall 11, Gunnar Kilian said: “Sales revenue and result at the Group and brand showed very solid development in the first half of the year, and we are therefore confirming our targets for the full year in 2019.” Referring to the indictments brought by the Brunswick public prosecutor’s office under proceedings relating to Germany’s Securities Trading Act, Kilian underscored that the company and the executives complied with all obligations to inform the capital market and that the accusations are unfounded. Kilian went on to say: “We have opened a new chapter in automotive history with the ID.3. And we will soon be presenting our next bestselling model, the new Golf, here in Wolfsburg. All of these achievements are the result of a strong team performance. On behalf of the Board of Management, I would like to say a big thank you to every single Volkswagen employee.”
One special feature of the works meeting was a spectacular vehicle presentation on a separate stage, where Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, introduced employees to the ID.3, the world’s first carbon-neutral electric vehicle. He also showcased a further model from the ID. family as well as the T-Roc Cabriolet. A highlight of the vehicle show for the workforce was a first glimpse, roughly one month before the world premiere, of the new eighth-generation Golf that will also be built in Wolfsburg. Brandstätter said: “The Golf is the bestseller and the benchmark in the compact segment, it is the favorite car for many people all over the world and comes top in tests. The new Golf will continue the success story, because it is fully connected, and comes equipped with modern driver assistance systems and an intelligent voice assistant. In a nutshell: We are digitalizing the Golf class.” In addition, Board Member for Sales, Jürgen Stackmann, presented Volkswagen’s new brand design to employees.
Works Council Chairman Osterloh said: “Again and again, the Volkswagen workforce demonstrates its flexibility and efficiency, it is fully committed to the company. That makes Volkswagen strong. And we will also be able to master all the challenges that lie ahead if we show our solidarity at Volkswagen. One good example is job security until the end of 2029. That brings certainty and lays a firm foundation for the management to continue to count on 100% commitment from the workforce.” He went on to say that next year’s family day was therefore a joint sign of respect and esteem for employees on the part of the company and the Works Council. Osterloh and Kilian underscored: “We want to say thank you – to you, our colleagues, as well as to your families.”
At the same time, Kilian and Osterloh underlined the upcoming challenges on many topics: Digitalization and the transformation of the automotive industry, new forms of mobility, exponential leaps in technology, a new environmental awareness, tougher competition with a steady stream of new players, growing trade conflicts, the ongoing discussion in Europe about a hard Brexit and, of course, the economic slowdown.
“All of that presents us with enormous challenges”, Kilian said. “But we have a proactive and success-oriented mindset when it comes to safeguarding the future. Volkswagen is entering the new mobility era in pole position. We demonstrated that at the IAA. The presentation of New Volkswagen and our ID.3 — another example of a brilliant team performance — marked the impressive start to our major electric offensive. That campaign is our convincing answer to the issue of climate-neutral mobility.”
Osterloh underscored: “The best route to climate protection is climate-neutral electric vehicles, hydrogen from wind power or synthetic fuels. Anyone who wants to abolish the automobile is in fact destroying thousands of jobs.” Referring to the significance of the Wolfsburg plant for the transformation, Osterloh said: “Our colleagues in Wolfsburg are laying the groundwork for the road to climate-neutral mobility, because the Golf 8 will again be the champion in its class and contribute to making the transformation sustainable as well as ensuring good capacity utilization at the plant. Moreover, once the Zwickau plant has been converted to e-mobility, the entire production of the Golf Variant will be relocated to the main plant here in Wolfsburg.”
Another theme of the works meeting was the 70th anniversary of October 8, 1949. That was the date when the British turned over the Volkswagenwerk to the trusteeship of the Federal government which, in turn, appointed the State of Lower Saxony to take over the administration. Since then, there have been close links between regional politics, Volkswagen and the workforce. The number of Volkswagen sites in Lower Saxony grew further over the decades with the plants in Brunswick, Emden, Hanover, Osnabrück and Salzgitter, bringing economic strength and secure jobs to their regions.
Talking to Bernd Osterloh during the works meeting, Stephan Weil, Minister President of Lower Saxony and a member of Volkswagen’s Supervisory Board, said: “Volkswagen is of exceptional importance to Lower Saxony: VW is Germany’s largest company by revenue. It is one of the largest taxpayers. But above all: Volkswagen is the biggest employer in Lower Saxony. Lower Saxony’s government cares deeply about the needs of employees. For this very reason, we have a significant interest in Volkswagen’s success. The State of Lower Saxony is conscious of its important role as an anchor shareholder of Volkswagen AG and will continue to be the reliable partner we have always been in past decades.”