Volkswagen AG is aiming for its van operations to become more profitable and to increase its deliveries this year. To achieve its goal, VW is stepping up its offerings in non-European markets for the expansion.
At a press conference in Hanover, Germany, Wolfgang Schreiber, head of the unit, said that the commercial-vehicles division targets higher operating profit than last year's 232 million euros ($324 million).
Meanwhile, vehicle sales increased 23% last year to 435,600 units. Schreiber said that it also wants to expand outside Europe over the medium term. Notably, van sales climbed by 85% in Latin America to 114,000 vehicles and more than doubled in the Middle East.
The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said that the European market for vans increased 15% in January, while heavy-duty truck demand went up 65%. In mid-2012, production of the Amarok pickup will begin at VW’s Hanover factory, the carmaker's third-largest German plant.
It has set a goal to produce more than 40,000 units for Europe, Russia and other markets. VW has already received about 40,000 orders for the Amarok, which is currently being built only at VW's factory in Pacheco, Argentina.
Schreiber said that it sold 22,600 units of the pickup in 2010, the year it was introduced in markets outside the U.S. The highest growth in Amarok sales is expected to come from the Asia-Pacific region.
Deliveries of the T5, the van division's topselling model, rose by 27% to 148,000, of which 124,000 vehicles were sold in Europe. Meanwhile, Caddy sales declined 8% to 128,700 units, attributed to the end of government trade-in incentives, which fueled the van's deliveries in 2009. [via Autonews - sub. required]