VW is pushing hard to lift its stock price so the company can keep pace with rivals and strengthen its hand in negotiations with future partners. The Volkswagen Group’s cornerstone electric vehicle ID3, want to push up production and double its market value and gain investor recognition for the industry’s most ambitious technology push.
Chief Financial Officer, Frank Witter asked managers to get behind the goal to reach a valuation of $222 billion, arguing that a higher stock price will help VW keep pace with rivals and strengthen its hand with future partners. Company value needs to be increased to stay competitive.
The need to act is evident in the VW’s numbers. VW leads Toyota in deliveries and generates roust cash and profits. But Toyota has more cost-effective manufacturing operations and a market value of $225 billion, versus about $95 billion for VW.
VW’s lower valuation suggests that investors are not convinced the company’s 44-billion-euro plan will succeed in making VW a leader in electrification with new, money-spinning software-based services.
Production of the ID3 full-electric hatchback, a key entry in an e-car onslaught that will eventually span 70 models across the group, at its plant in Zwickau. “We are tackling crucial future areas, among them e-mobility and digitalisation, with resolution and determination,” Witter said. “That boosts our credibility so the capital market gains more trust in our future viability.”
The seven-point plan includes strengthening individual brands such as VW, Audi and Porsche, growth in China and boosting software operations.
The plan outlines these goals:
Strong brands with clear positioning and great products
Leading position in China, with value-creating global growth
Eliminate complexity, industry-leading economies of scale
Full commitment to carbon-neutral goals and shaping e-mobility
Transform into a leading automotive software player
Optimise business portfolio and rigorous allocation of capital
Industry peers such as General Motors, Ford and Daimler also trade at relatively low multiples, far behind cash-rich Silicon Valley giants like Apple and Waymo parent Alphabet that are plotting to grab valuable turf as technology challenges traditional auto-making businesses.
“We have a lot of potential within the group,” VW CEO Herbert Diess said. “We can make better use of synergies internally,” he said.
Porsche, Lamborghini options
Investors and analysts have intensified calls for VW to become a lot more nimble and address the unwieldy conglomerate structure that includes 12 automotive brands. Porsche alone could be worth 100 billion Euros in a potential initial public offering. The company has been weighing options for the Lamborghini unit, including a sale or a stock listing.
While no decisions have been made, VW has started preparations to fold the Italian supercar brand into a separate legal entity. VW has said there is no plan in place for a Lamborghini OP or sale.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles unlocked value with the IPO of its Ferrari unit, now worth about $30 billion. VW stakeholders have stifled similar moves at the automaker.
An asset review started in 2016 has brought few tangible results to date, beyond an aborted effort to sell the Ducati motorbike brand and an initial public offering of the trucks division after much internal wrangling.