March 15 (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG’s commercial vehicles division plans to strengthen its position this year in the declining European market and grow its global market share.
“We aim to exploit all growth potentials in Europe and secure our top position,” Eckhard Scholz, the unit’s head, said in the text of a speech to be delivered at today’s annual press conference in Hanover, Germany. The unit’s deliveries in the first two months declined 6.6 percent to 74,400 vehicles.
Volkswagen is forging an alliance between the commercial vehicles unit and heavy truckmakers MAN SE and Scania AB, which it also controls, and has promoted former Scania CEO Leif Oestling to oversee the collaboration. To counter the European slump, the division is looking at expanding in new markets such as China or North America.
VW is developing its own Crafter model, Schulz said, adding that there’s no decision yet where it will be built. The current Crafter, together with the Sprinter van, is built by Daimler AG. The contract runs out at the end of 2016.
Operating profit declined 6.1 percent to 421 million euros ($548 million) as revenue climbed 5.2 percent to 9.45 billion euros. The percentage of profit to sales contracted to 4.5 percent from 5.0 percent. The unit delivered 550,370 vehicles in 2013, an increase of 4.1 percent, on demand for the Amarok pick-up.
Deliveries of the Amarok pick-up increased 27 percent to 84,100 vehicles last year. The Crafter delivery van posted 49,200 deliveries, an increase of 24 percent. The T5 transporter was the best-selling model with 160,300 deliveries.
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