VW employees receive the highest bonus since 2015. The carmaker wants to make its technology for e-cars available to other manufacturers.
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess presents the electronic VW I.D. Buggy at the Geneva Motor Show Photo: dpa
Despite the diesel scandal, Wolfburg-based carmaker Volkswagen is doing splendidly in terms of profits and sales figures. Unlike the aggrieved customers, employees should also benefit from this. An article in the employee magazine "Mitbestimmen" said that the 100,000 employees covered by collective bargaining agreements will each receive 4750 euros as a profit-sharing bonus. This is the highest sum since 2015, when just under 6,000 euros were paid, it said. The profit-sharing scheme for pay-scale employees is governed by a collective agreement.
"2018 was a tough year for our colleagues," explained Chairman of the General Works Council Bernd Osterloh. Among other things, he said, there had been shift cancellations or overturned production programs. "All these challenges were not the fault of the workforce, but our colleagues have ironed everything out." That’s why it’s only fair that the workforce now gets its share of the success, he said. Osterloh and the works council chairmen at the sites had negotiated the bonus with the board of management.
Volkswagen surprisingly increased profits in 2018 despite turbulence caused by stricter emissions measurement rules and the damage to its image caused by the diesel scandal involving manipulated tests. Operating profit climbed to 13.9 billion euros, up from 13.8 billion euros a year earlier. The automaker has installed software in 11 million vehicles worldwide that curbs emissions during tests. Unlike in the U.S., millions of VW customers in Germany have not been compensated.
Last year, the automaker announced its roadmap for phasing out climate-damaging engines: In the early 2040s, the company plans to produce vehicles with internal combustion engines for the last time. In 2026, engineers are to develop the last model generation with a diesel or gasoline engine. In return, VW plans to invest billions in the development and construction of e-mobility in the coming years. By 2025, almost a quarter of all models are to be electrically powered.
Construction kit for electric models
Volkswagen also wants to offer its technology for electric cars to other manufacturers. This could create a new standard for electromobility, which could reduce costs overall, VW announced ahead of the Geneva Motor Show. CEO Herbert Diess said there were already talks with Ford about the possibility of licensing. The first partner is the Aachen-based startup e.Go Mobile, a pioneer in electric mobility.
E.Go wants to work with the group and use the VW modular system for future electric models. "The MEB platform will make us even faster, more robust and more cost-effective," said Gunther Schuh, chief executive and founder of the Aachen-based company.
MEB stands for VW’s "modular electrification kit." The group wants to use it to lower the overall cost of electromobility. "The MEB is to be established as the standard for e-mobility," said VW Group CEO Diess.
"Golf of the electric age"
In the future, VW plans to develop a new vehicle, E.Go, using the electric modular system. Small-series vehicles, of which only small numbers are produced, should also be easy and cost-effective to build with it, Diess said. The first car from the ID family will roll off the production line in early 2020 – the ID is the "Golf of the electric age" and will cost under 30,00 euros. The VW product will make it "difficult for customers to decide against the electric vehicle".
Stricter environmental regulations of the European Union will take effect from 20. Car manufacturers face heavy penalties if they fail to reduce the CO2 emissions of the vehicles they sell. This is one of the reasons why carmakers are investing in electric models.