Honeymoon over for MAN and VW

VW has big plans for MAN SEThree months after the consummation of the friendly takeover of MAN SE (MAN Truck and Bus) by VW (Volkswagen) the real work of the partnership has begun. MAN, with work sites in Munich, Karlsfeld, Dachau and other locales, is a major employer in the greater Munich area. Multiple sources at MAN SE have told The Munich Eye that the upper management of VW will take a more obvious active role in the day to day operations at MAN, beginning sometime this spring.

VW's Chief Financial Officer, Hans Dieter Pötsch, though mindful of the profitability of MAN in the past, has pledged that MAN's total profit and profit percentage would increase dramatically in the next 1-2 fiscal years. The anonymous sources, who were not authorized to speak for VW or MAN, all said Pötsch and VW's Head, Ferdinand Piëch, wanted at least a "double-digit" profit percentage. In 2011 MAN had a turnover of EUR16.47B, but only a profit of EUR247M, or less than 2% of revenue. Revenue in 2010 was about EUR14.67B, but the profit was a very respectable EUR722M, or about 5%. At the same time, the European market share of MAN went up around a half of a percent, at the expense of its nearest rival, Daimler, which lost about 3%. VW's other European commercial vehicles holding, Sweden's Scania, also rose noticeably in Europe during that period. MAN also added about 5,000 new jobs from 2010 to 2011.

The biggest question at MAN remains, how does the VW management intend to maximize profits? In the automotive industry VW has the reputation, and rightfully so, of treating its factory workers better than the minimum wage and benefits standard in the industry which was negotiated by the metalworkers union, IG Metall.

One of the largest areas of growth for MAN recently has been the Latin America market, especially Brazil, but this will cool down in 2012 according to most forecasts. So where and perhaps more importantly, how MAN continues to grow, seems to be on the mind of many of MAN's 52,000 employees. But one thing is certain; whatever the strategy hashed out by MAN's management, VW's fingerprints will be conspicuously on it.


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