Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume wants to present his strategy for the next decade before the end of this year.

At the virtual Annual General Meeting of the Wolfsburg-based car manufacturer on Wednesday, the manager said that the foundation stone for Strategy 2035 will be laid in 2024. "It will be the North Star for our actions over the next ten years," emphasized Blume. The Wolfsburg-based company is launching more than 30 new vehicles in its various brands this year, including combustion engines, hybrid cars and electric cars. The latter are the future of the automotive industry, said Blume, and this is the focus of the investments. With a small car in the 20,000 euro price segment, another electric car will be added from 2027. "We are thus keeping our promise to offer affordable mobility for generations," said Blume.

The vehicle is to be developed and built in Europe, but VW initially left open where exactly it will roll off the production line. VW locations in Eastern Europe are conceivable. For some investors, this decision came too late. Janne Werning, an expert at the fund management company Union Investment, said that in view of the product portfolio, it would be difficult to massively increase the proportion of electric vehicles in order to meet the CO2 targets that will be tightened in the European Union from 2025. "Now there is a threat of billions in fines from Brussels."


Blume also announced that the commercial vehicle manufacturer Traton would be granted a higher free float, thereby increasing its chances of being included in the MDax. The low free float at Traton remains an obstacle for many investors, said Blume. In the medium term, VW still plans to have a 75 percent stake and one share in Traton. "We want to remain a committed and responsible shareholder," emphasized Blume. However, he left open how many shares VW could place on the market. Traton's free float currently stands at just over ten percent.


The human rights situation in the Chinese Uyghur province of Xinjiang remained an important point of criticism among shareholders. Werning said that after reports of forced labor during the construction of a test track, the suspicion arose that Blume was addressing the issue half-heartedly at best. VW Board Member for Legal Affairs Manfred Döss said that Volkswagen agreed with its Chinese partners that basic rights had to be respected, and that this also applied to the sites of the joint ventures in Xinjiang. VW operates a plant in Xinjiang together with SAIC. VW is in advanced talks with its partner SAIC about the future direction of its business activities in Xinjiang, and various scenarios are currently being intensively examined.

The virtual Annual General Meeting was also criticized. In 2023, VW was considered a positive example due to its in-person Annual General Meeting, said Deka expert Ingo Speich. Now the company is ducking away from its shareholders. Last year, human rights groups and climate activists disrupted the event, with one person attempting to throw a cake at Supervisory Board member Wolfgang Porsche. VW cited cost reasons for holding the Annual General Meeting virtually again - and safety arguments. At the 2023 Annual General Meeting, VW had been granted the fundamental right to hold the event virtually for five years. According to a spokesperson, a decision on the format of next year's shareholder meeting has not yet been made.

(Report by Christina Amann, edited by Ralf Banser. If you have any questions, please contact our editorial team at (for politics and the economy) or (for companies and markets)