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Annual Report

Business Development

Number of vehicles delivered exceeds 7 million for the first time

In the past fiscal year, both the global economy as a whole and the automotive industry largely recovered from the consequences of the financial and economic crisis. The Volkswagen Group took advantage of this development to further strengthen its market position: vehicle deliveries rose by 13.7% year-on-year, pushing through the seven million mark for the first time.

RECOVERY OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY CONTINUES

In 2010, the global economy recovered faster than expected from the significant slump suffered in the previous year. Despite the expiry of government economic stimulus programs in many countries, the continued expansionary monetary policy and the rapid recovery in emerging economies led to above-average growth of the global economy. Although commodity and oil prices rose significantly, inflation rates in most countries remained relatively low. Global trade resumed its double-digit growth, benefiting in particular high-export countries such as Germany. Overall, the global economy expanded by around 4.1%, following a contraction of 1.9% in the previous year.

ECONOMIC GROWTH
Percentage change in GDP
Economic growth (line chart)

North America

After a decline of 2.6% in economic output in 2009, the US economy recorded growth of 2.9% in the reporting period. The high unemployment rate fell only slightly, in spite of the government’s extremely expansionary monetary policy. After reaching its high for the year in June, the US dollar once again lost considerable ground against the euro. Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 2.9% (previous year: –2.5%); Mexico’s economy grew by 5.4% (previous year: –6.1%).

South America

With a growth rate of 7.5% (previous year: –0.6%) in Brazil and 8.3% (previous year: 0.9%) in Argentina, South America’s major economies experienced a very dynamic recovery. While Brazil’s average inflation rate was similar to the previous year’s, inflation accelerated considerably in Argentina.

Asia-Pacific

As in 2009, Asia’s emerging economies were again the world’s fastest growing in 2010, even though the rate of expansion slowed slightly toward the end of the year. Chinese gross domestic product rose 10.3% (previous year: 9.2%), again exceeding the previous year’s growth rate. Following the sharp 6.3% decline in GDP in 2009, Japan’s economy grew by 4.3% in 2010, although the deflationary trends persisted. The Indian economy expanded by a rapid 8.5% (previous year: 6.5%).

EXCHANGE RATE MOVEMENTS FROM DECEMBER 2009 TO DECEMBER 2010
Index based on month-end prices: December 31, 2009 = 100
Exchange rate movements from December 2009 to December 2010 (line chart)

Europe/Remaining markets

Although Western Europe recorded only modest GDP growth of 1.8% (previous year: –4.1%), the rate was higher than had been expected at the beginning of the year. The average unemployment rate in the euro zone rose from 9.4% in 2009 to 10.0% in the reporting period. Average GDP growth in Central and Eastern Europe was 4.1% (previous year: –5.5%), but GDP growth trends varied widely in the different countries.

With a growth rate of 2.7% (previous year: –1.7%), South Africa emerged from its recession sooner than expected, even though the significant appreciation of the rand even had a curbing effect on this trend.

Germany

Thanks to its strong export performance, Germany achieved growth of 3.6% (previous year: –4.7%) in the period, one of the highest GDP growth rates among the major industrialized nations. In the second half of the year, significantly lower unemployment as well as positive income trends stimulated private consumption.

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