* volumes, revenue and operating profit to fall in 2009
* may shorten working hours further in Hanover, Poznan
HANOVER, Germany, March 25 (Reuters) - Volkswagen’s (VOWG.DE) light commercial vehicles business will begin assembly in Russia in May and is examining options to build transporter models in China and India, it said on Wednesday.
“We want to double our (Russian) market share from about 5 percent today to 10 percent by 2018,” the head of Volkswagen’s light commercial vehicles business, Stephan Schaller, said at the unit’s annual news conference.
“In order to step on the gas, we have installed an SKD (semi-knocked down) assembly line for the T5 and the Caddy in the Volkswagen plant in Kaluga. We begin in May.”
Schaller said his transporter division wants to enter the Chinese and Indian markets with its own manufacturing operations.
“We are examining various options at present, including a cooperation with other commercial vehicle makers. An alternative is using existing production capacity of the group but a decision has not yet been made,” Schaller said.
Volkswagen is already a major player in the Brazilian market, where it sold its only heavy truck unit to German truckmaker MAN (MANG.DE) in a deal that closed on March 17.
The disposal means that the brand can now concentrate solely on light commercial vehicles.
Schaller expects unit sales, revenue and operating profit to decline this year. He said his business would perform better than the transporter market, which he forecast would shrink by about 25 percent this year.
While he aimed to maintain his permanent staffing levels, Schaller said he could not rule out cutting work hours further at its German site in Hanover and Polish plant in Poznan.
In Hanover, for example, production was temporarily stopped during the entire last week in February and will also have been for every Monday during the month of March.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles reaffirmed its 2018 volume target of roughly 750,000 unit sales.
Last year, deliveries rose 2.9 percent to 503,000 units, lifting revenue 3.3 percent to 9.6 billion euros and operating profit by nearly a quarter to 375 million.
Net cash flow shrank to 183 million euros.
For comments by Volkswagen CEO Winterkorn click on [ID:nWEA4190]
Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner