Herbert Diess says they "will review all options."
Have you ever wondered how many brands the Volkswagen Group has under its huge umbrella? There’s the core brand VW, the posh Audi, the sporty Porsche, the high-end Bentley, the no-frills Skoda, the youthful SEAT, the raging bull Lamborghini, and the hypercar marque Bugatti. In addition, the German conglomerate also owns Ducati, Scania, and MAN, while VW Commercial Vehicles is another member of the family.
That brings the grand total to 12, but the group is actually bigger than that once you take into account VW also owns companies such as MAN Diesel and Renk AG, with the latter producing gear drive assemblies. To get a better understating of how large the VW Group really is, the multi-brand automotive giant has 120 production plants all over the world.
Plans to slim down the complex portfolio could be in the making as suggested by the group’s newly appointed CEO, Herbert Diess, during his first news conference as the man calling the shots at Volkswagen. He said each and every brand will be reviewed in the future and some of the assets could be sold to reorganize the group by only keeping the strongest brands.
No names were mentioned during the conference, but it seems highly unlikely the passenger car brands are facing the chopping block as even the once problematic SEAT is now profitable. Skoda is a veritable cash cow for the group, while the fancier brands are also basically printing money.
One could speculate that Ducati might be in danger considering last year the Italian motorcycle marque was almost sold for $1.8 billion. That being said, it’s too early to know for sure since Diess was appointed as CEO less than a week ago. As a side note, he’s also expected to be named Audi’s chairman.
The VW Group has plans to restructure its plethora of brands into distinct business areas, such as Volume, Premium, and Super Premium for its passenger car brands. There’s also the Truck & Bus division along with a separate branch tailored to the Chinese market.