WOLFSBURG, Germany, June 18 (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG’s (VOWG.DE) top labour representative urged Europe’s biggest carmaker to develop vehicles that are easier and quicker to build and to consider taking back some products from suppliers.
“I think it is thoroughly possible to increase productivity for the next generation of vehicles by up to 50 percent,” works council head Bernd Osterloh told reporters last week in remarks embargoed until Monday.
Critics say Volkswagen has allowed some vehicles, in particular the Golf, to become too complex.
VW has already begun streamlining its operations to make production more efficient. It said last week productivity could rise by more than 12 percent this year.
“We need to keep capacity utilisation at our plants high because this reduces unit costs at the same time,” Osterloh said. “We want assembly to reach 6.5 million units per year soon.”
The group made around 5.7 million units last year.
To preserve jobs amid rising productivity, Osterloh said VW should take back assembly of some products from suppliers.
Osterloh also said he expected a decision in the second half of the year at the earliest on plans to merge Volkswagen’s trucks business with those of MAN AG (MANG.DE) and Sweden’s Scania AB SCVb.ST.
He said VW was correct to insist that it run such a trucks alliance, and he suggested basing the business in Hanover, Germany, where VW makes trucks.
((Reporting by Sabine Ehrhardt, writing by Michael Shields, editing by David Holmes; firstname.lastname@example.org; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com; +49 69 7565 1266)) Keywords: VOLKSWAGEN PRODUCTIVITY/
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