The Volkswagen Group has announced the biggest investment of its or any other automaker's history as part of its previously-stated plan to become the dominant power in the industry. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft indicated that a record $85.8 billion outlay will be made in the 2012-2016 time window, with the expressed goal of turning the firm into "the world's best automobile manufacturer in economic and ecological terms." Winterkorn went on to add: "We shall continue to extend our innovation and technology leadership. Top of the agenda for us are investments in environmentally friendly, sustainable models and drives."
Group Works Council Chairman Bernd Osterloh characterized the VW investment package as "yet another move designed to ensure the Group is fit for the future and takes the form of high-quality investments in new, innovative products, manufacturing processes and our global locations."
In addition to enhancing basic vehicle manufacturing processes, funds heading to VW's German-based operations will be used for alternative drive systems, including new generations of diesel and petrol engines, and new generations of Volkswagen's innovative direct-shift gearboxes.
Nearly two-thirds of VW's total investment under the program is destined to cover development costs of new vehicles and/or successor models which will be based on modular "toolkit technology" and related components. In addition to designing more powerful, efficient and greener conventional powertrains, a significant amount of these resources are earmarked for the development of hybrid and electric alternatives. Along those lines, VW says it plans to invest in wind, solar and hydroelectric power with the intent of supplying its upgraded factories with new renewable energy sources.