Fiscal year 2010 was the most successful year in the Volkswagen Group’s history. The automotive industry has accelerated out of the economic crisis and is recording significant growth. And Volkswagen, which already provided impressive proof of its robust health during the crisis, is now leading the way in the recovery as well.
were at an all-time high of 7.2 million vehicles. With growth of 13.7 percent, we outperformed the market as a whole and extended our share of the global passenger car market to 11.4 percent. Our operating profit also hit a new record, at € 7.1 billion. We want our shareholders to benefit from this performance as well, which is why we are proposing a of € 2.20 per ordinary share and € 2.26 per preferred share.
The financial markets also reflect our Company’s upbeat prospects: Volkswagen’s shares were among the strongest performers in the DAX in 2010. Our , too, underlined investor confidence in our strategy. The net issue proceeds of € 4.1 billion made it one of the most successful in the history of the automotive industry.
All this goes to show that Volkswagen is on a solid growth path. At the same time, we are driving forward with our plans for the mobility group of the future – from the gradual integration with Porsche down to our initiatives in the commercial vehicles area. We are building on what is today already an extremely broad base to lay the foundations for profitable growth in all .
Our timing for this is excellent, as the automotive business offers significant medium- and long-term opportunities. We expect global market growth to continue in 2011, despite all the economic uncertainty. And Volkswagen intends to play a key role in shaping this growth, above all by maintaining our focus on one crucial strength of this multibrand group: diversity.
Our brands offer mobility solutions for all sizes of vehicle and client requirements, in all regions of the world. We will be expanding this diversity yet further over the next few months with specific new models such as the Golf Cabrio, the Audi Q3 and the UP! New production facilities are under construction both in China and the United States. Equally, we are focusing on more than one future drive concept. Not only are we constantly improving the efficiency of our combustion engines, we are also systematically extending and enhancing hybrid technology and electric traction solutions.
In doing so, we can count on our highly qualified and motivated workforce. My colleagues on the Board of Management and I would like to thank all our employees for making our success possible in the past fiscal year. We look forward to working with the entire team on shaping our Company’s future.
The Volkswagen Group’s ability to tightly manage its diversity and growth was, and is, key to this process. The team spirit behind our brands and in our regions is strong – and is still growing. We are recruiting new staff at all levels. And, last but not least, we will be investing €53.5 billion in the Automotive Division and an additional €10.6 billion in China until 2015 – in new, fascinating products, in expanding our production and sales network, and in environmentally friendly technologies.
In all of this, the Volkswagen Group has a clear goal: Our pursuit of innovation and perfection and our responsible approach are designed to make us the world’s leading automaker by – both economically and ecologically. We have already made good progress towards this goal. Much remains to be done. My request to you, as our shareholders, is as follows: Please continue to support us on this journey. I am convinced that your confidence in the Volkswagen Group will be rewarded.
Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn