Embattled German auto giant Volkswagen is abandoning its ambition to become the world’s biggest carmaker ahead of Japanese rival Toyota, its new chief executive said in a magazine interview published today.
“For me, this obsession with unit sales and the ambition to constantly reach new records makes no sense, ” CEO Matthias Mueller told the weekly WirtschaftsWoche in an interview.
VW is currently engulfed in a scandal of global proportions after it was forced to admit in September that it installed pollution-cheating software in 11 million diesel engines worldwide.
Mueller was brought in to resolve the crisis.
The oft-stated goal of his predecessor Martin Winterkorn had been for VW to overtake Toyota as the world’s number one carmaker by 2018.
And the German giant – which owns 12 different brands – had even looked set to reach that goal this year.
But VW sales have been falling in the wake of the scandal.
While unit sales would remain important for the group, “I’m not going declare sheer size as an end in itself,” Mueller said.
“It makes no difference to me whether we’re number one, number two or number three in terms of volume of sales.”
VW still wants to remain a leader in the sector.
“But our definition will be different,” he said.