Série d’été – Comment va … Volkswagen

La Golf, huitième du nom peine à retrouver sa place de première de cordée.

In both football and motorsport, it is always the Germans who win in the end. Except that the adage is less true in football and becomes uncertain in cars. This is how the unbeatable Volkswagen Golf, sales leader in Europe for decades, saw its eighth generation falter on its throne, falling to fourth position last year, only to climb back to the top this spring. Is the fault of the Covid, of the shortage of microprocessors? We’re still looking for the culprit, whether it’s viruses or nasty Asian manufacturers serving their own markets to sell their chips to foreigners. But the truth is also elsewhere: in the time that flees.

The weakened Golf

The Golf belongs to a segment of the past. Today, people are turning away from compacts in favor of SUVs. Its French competitor, the Peugeot 308, suffers the same fate and is sold, 60%, to companies. But then, if the iconic VW is no longer successful, or less than before, are consumers turning to the same brand’s small or midsize crossovers, the T-Roc and T-Cross?

The first only comes in 6th position in the standings, well behind the Peugeot 2008 and the second does not even appear in the top 10. The fault, perhaps, of its late arrival in a market already heavily burdened by competition. Because the T-Cross was only marketed in 2019, when the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and many others had been comfortably installed for years and were already launching the second generations of their models.

The T-Roc SUV: It should be at the top of European sales, but it’s only 6th.

An ignition retard that has been a VW tradition for decades. The Volfsburg brand, confident in its dominance, has always let its competitors blaze new trails before breaking into markets they had cleared and winning the day. But not this time. The brand image of the German company formed through years of communication based on its reliability, its assembly quality and its immutable design, therefore timeless, would it have a blow to the wing? In any case, there is another area in which Volkswagen is suffering: that of the electric car, towards which the entire automobile industry is in the process of turning.

The electric to wash the insult of the dieselgate

However, this is a race where VW is far from the last outing. The decision was made back in 2015 when the brand, and the entire group, was the laughing stock of the planet due to dieselgate. To get away with it, and afford a slightly cleaner global image, the German has decided to bet everything on electricity with a new sub-brand: ID. But the Covid has been there, and also some electronic mishaps. The ID3 took until 2020 to finally be on the road, followed by its big brother ID4 and its coupe version ID5, but also the ID6, SUV destined for China, the ID Buzz, the Watts combi and the future ID Aero, the first sedan of the family.

Will the ID3 one day succeed the Golf?
Will the ID3 one day succeed the Golf?

It is therefore a complete range that is on the rise. Except VW isn’t really alone in going electric. The sales of zero emission cars advance in the world, logically, but the Germans are not the ones who benefit the most from this madness. During the first half of 2022, it is sold 3 million across the planet, there is a progression of 80% for rapport over the same period in 2021. Sauf que la mayor partie de ce gâteau, soit 13%, reient à You’re there. As for the second and third of this new market, they are Chinese, since they are Saic and Byd. The almighty VW, meanwhile, is only fourth.

Losses of market share in thermal energy and delays in the switching on of electrical energy: so many storm clouds accumulated over Volfsburg that they ended up creating enormous internal tensions. Especially since the very vertical management of the boss Herbert Diess has not helped to calm things down, in office since 2018, he ended up being dismissed a few weeks ago and replaced by the much more consensual Olivier Blume, already at the helm of Porsche, the leader of the cluster. most profitable brand.

Considered too brutal (and perhaps too electric), Herbert Diess gave thanks a few weeks ago.
Considered too brutal (and perhaps too electric), Herbert Diess gave thanks a few weeks ago.

The German has had more folichon episodes during his long career. However, those who are already thinking about his burial would do well to change their minds. The giant certainly has his feet of clay lately, but some figures about him speak volumes. The brand does not lose money and the VW group, which brings together the entire galaxy (Audi, Seat, Cupra, Skoda, etc.) earns a lot. It is true that overall sales fell 22% in the first half of this year. But if we look at the results of all these people, they are more than positive.

Sales down and profits up

Only Seat is in red. For others, it’s a party: the overall operating margin jumped to 12.8 billion, an increase of 12.9% compared to the same period last year. Some groups and some brands would love to know about Volkswagen’s rich concerns. And there is no doubt that with its accumulated treasure in the holds, the VW ship should be able to weather the current storm without sinking.

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