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Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,
In any normal year, we would have greeted you in person today to talk about the past business year and our future plans for #volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. But it is not a normal year and these are not normal times. Only last month, I met many of you at the premiere of the new Caddy 5 in Düsseldorf. We spent an enjoyable evening together with many interesting conversations. None of us imagined back then that the coronavirus pandemic would develop as it has, with today such extensive restrictions dictating our everyday lives.
Our plants have now been shut down, initially for two weeks. We have applied for approval to put some of the workforce on short-time working. A small number of colleagues remain at the plants to maintain machinery and to prepare the production process for resumption at a later date. Many of us are working from home in order to wherever possible keep up large parts of the business aside from production going.
It was precisely during this period that we had originally planned to hold our annual press conference. But let me be very frank: at the moment I think there are more important things occupying us as a company, as part of society and above all as individuals and family members. Naturally, we are safeguarding our business, looking after the health of our staff, continuing to provide services and advice for our customers wherever possible – and watching our liquidity even more closely than usual. We are, in addition, working very hard to ensure we can quickly restart production and deliveries to our customers, as soon as the outside circumstances once again permit.
We, the Board of Management of #volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, have therefore decided that we would like to invite you to join us later in the year, so that we can inform you then in detail and in calmer circumstances about the status of our GRIP 2025+ transformation and, above all, about our ongoing development.
Today, therefore, I’ll say just this about 2019: at 11.5 billion euros, turnover was slightly down on last year, while against the backdrop of the WLTP challenges we achieved a respectable trading result, including by comparison with competitors, of 510 million euros operating profit and a 4.4 per cent operating margin. These financial figures are within our overall plan, where with capital expenditure of a further 1.8 billion euros in 2019 alone we further bolstered the foundations for our transformation: for the development of our products all the way through to the all-electric ID. BUZZ, for the conversion of our main Hannover plant to electric vehicle production and for the transformation of our team.
I am looking forward to the day when we will start up our factories again and our workforce will be able once more to build the vehicles that our customers value so much. And I would also like to take this opportunity to express my great gratitude to our entire team for their efforts and commitment during this exceptional period. However, it is also clear that we will still be feeling the impact of the coronavirus crisis for a long time after it. And when we are able to give you a solid look ahead and valid information, then that is what we will do.
Chairman of the Board of Management
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles
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