Volkswagen Group to Split Into Four Holding Companies? What to Expect? [Op/Ed]

Dr. Martin Winterkorn - VW Chariman
Dr. Martin Winterkorn – VAG Chairman

The Volkswagen Group (VAG) is locked in a three-way battle for global sales supremacy against the leading Toyota and trailing General Motors. For reference, Toyota sold 2.58 million vehicles globally in the first quarter of 2015. VAG sold 2.49 million and GM sold 2.42 million units over the same period.

Still, Volkswagen appears to be slow to respond to the needs of markets such as in the United States. Company’s crossover and SUV strategy is not being realized quickly enough to win sales over amidst very tough competition. We are still many months away from see a production-ready version of VW’s three-row crossover. And the next generation Tiguan is approximately two years away.

Automotive News Europe reports that VAG is planning to split into four groups or holding companies. The first is all about high volume passenger cars and will contain Volkswagen, Skoda, and Seat. Former BMW manager, Herbert Diess, will be in charge of the holding company on a global basis.

The second group will contain Audi, Lamborghini, and Ducati. This grouping makes sense because of how close Audi and Lamborghini already are. This holding company will be headed by Audi’s current boss, Rupert Stadler.

The third company will house Porsche, Bentley, and Bugatti. This is a bit of an odd coupling, and Porsche’s current leader, Matthias Mueller, will be in charge.

The final group will consist of commercial vehicles and trucks. It combines VW commercial, Scania, and MAN trucks under one roof to be led by former Daimler trucks boss, Andreas Renschler.

This move aims to decentralize the single VAG leadership structure into four smaller units. Will this help the Volkswagen brand to succeed in the United States? It’s too early to say for sure, especially since VAG did not release an official comment on this news. However, managing twelve brands from a single leadership structure is probably not an ideal situation. Hopefully, this move will make each smaller company more agile and responsive to customer’s needs.

Check out the VW Cross Coupe GTE concept that VW showed at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

And take a look at the 2017 VW Jetta Sportwagen Alltrak from the 2015 New York Auto Show. VW showed this European version before a slightly updated car arrives in American showroom as a 2017 model.