Volkswagen CEO says market 'tougher'
Volkswagen, Europe's largest automaker, said business in the second half will be more difficult as the region's economy deteriorates.
Market conditions have become "noticeably harder and tougher," chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn said in a statement today following an event with 20,0000 employees.
"The fact that Winterkorn is saying it now, after statements earlier by the VW head of sales and chief of finance, just makes clear that Volkswagen's exceptional market performance will end eventually," Albrecht Denninghoff, an analyst at Silvia Quandt Research in Frankfurt, said by phone.
"I would be surprised if second-half sales and profit were double-digit in growth again."
Worldwide deliveries by Volkswagen and its Audi, Skoda and Seat brands rose 10 per cent to 5.91 million cars and sport-utility vehicles in the first eight months of 2012, the German-based carmaker said in mid-September.
The growth contrasted with a 6.6 per cent industrywide contraction in Europe. The region's main automaking trade group predicts sales in 2012 will reach a 17-year low.
Volkswagen fell as much as 3.5 per cent to €149.55, the biggest intraday drop since September 4, and traded 2.9 per cent lower as of 2.59pm in Frankfurt. That pared the stock's gain this year to 30 per cent.
The German company remains on course toward its 2018 goal of surpassing Toyota and General Motors as the world's largest carmaker, Mr Winterkorn said today.
European automakers are struggling with overcapacity and intense pricing competition as the region's car sales sink for a fifth consecutive year.
Daimler, the world's third-largest luxury-vehicle maker, said September 20 that earnings at its car division will drop in 2012 as the market decline hurts business in the second half.