European Union leaders are meeting this week to discuss possible sanctions against Russia and how to support the Ukrainian economy, as well as how to lessen their reliance on Russian oil and gas in coming years. "I believe we should not scale back our activities (in Russia) because of this," Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn told Reuters.
VW invested EUR1 billion ($1.4 billion) on its Russian operations from 2006 to 2013. It said in December 2012 that it would invest another EUR840 million in the country until end of 2015. The German carmaker is building a new engine site in Kaluga, Russia, where it is employing over 5,100 people building VW and Skoda models.
The carmaker is aiming to hike sales in Russia by over 60 percent to 500,000 cars, from 303,000 in 2013. "Our sales numbers continue to look good, but we're paying very close attention to what is happening there," Winterkorn said.
He noted that VW’s investments “are still running” and the carmaker we will not stop the new engine plant." VW CFO Hans-Dieter Poetsch said last week that the carmaker was struggling with effects of "extreme" currency volatility that was placing a "clear burden" on its Russian operations. [source: Reuters]