Volkswagen’s sausage production outstrips its car making

VW’s own-brand currywurst produced in greater numbers in 2015 than VW’s cars

Some years ago, the volume of money passing through Ford's own bank, Ford Credit, was so vast that investors were often said to regard Ford as a massive finance corporation with a small car making concern as a subsidiary. Perhaps in years to come, we'll see Volkswagen as a maker of high-quality sausages that dabbles, from time to time, in car making.

Why? Because VW made more sausages in 2015 than it did cars. Well, to be more precise, it put VW packaging on more sausages than it put VW badges on cars. You see, as any car nut knows, the best currywurst sausages are to be found in Germany, and the best currywurst sausages in Germany are to be found in VW"s own staff canteen in its factory in Wolfsburg. The sausages are made in VW's own butchery and are reputed to be some of the best around, good enough to be made available in the Deutches Currywurst Museum in Berlin (yes, an actual thing). Packets of the sausages are also given to those customers who choose to collect their new VWs from the factory.

Complete with ‘Volkswagen Originalteil’ (that’s original parts) on the label, VW’s own butchers made 7.2-million currywursts in 2015 to keep hungry plant workers and executives fed at Wolfsburg. By contrast, Volkswagen only made 5.8-million Volkswagens in 2015, a 4.8 percent drop from 2014’s numbers. Most of that decline came in the months following the Diesel-Gate scandal breaking in global news outlets in September.

VW Group sales still outstrip the sausage production though. In the whole of 2015 the whole group (including Audi, Skoda, Seat, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti) churned out 9.93-million cars, again a slight drop from 2014's figure of 10.14-million, a decrease of 2.07 percent. Some of that was down to Diesel-Gate, but much more worrying were major sales slowdowns in markets such as Russia, Brazil and China - markets which had been seen as safe-havens for car makers stung by stagnating markets in Europe and the US from 2008 to 2013.

So, if you take these figures and extrapolate them, sausage production could soon become a bigger concern for VW than cars, even across the group. Assuming that VW sales continue to decline year-on-year by 2.07 percent, in three years time, VW Group will sell 9,326,034 cars worldwide. Between 2014 and 2015, currywurst production rose from 6.3-million to 7.2-million. Assuming similar gains over the next three years, currywurst production will hit 9.9-million, outstripping car production. A big assumption? Possibly so, but then who would have predicted, six months ago, any deceleration in VW’s sales figures, caused by scandal or anything else?

Perhaps it’s no surprise though - currywurst production has actually exceeded VW-badged vehicle production in 2014 and 2013 too, so we cannot perhaps blame Diesel-Gate for the sudden jump in sausage output. Perhaps we should only start to worry when VW’s own-brand ketchup also begins to exceed car sales…

Want some other car-company-branded food? We can help. To turn your VW sausage into some surf-n-turf, you could get some Toyota-owned Tuna Dream Goto Corporation tuna, and some also-Toyota-owned First Baking Co., Ltd. bread. You could wash that all down with some Fiat-badged Barbera d'Asti wine (pricey at around €25 a bottle) and enjoy some some of Lamborghini's own balsamic vinegar as a condiment.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring

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