Fleet News

Volkswagen commits £1 billion to boost commercial operation

VOLKSWAGEN is pumping £1 billion into a transformation of the commercial vehicles side of its empire in the UK. The huge amount of cash is being spent over the next four years on everything from product development to upgrading factories in the hope of breaking into the top three commercial vehicle manufacturers.

Currently Volkswagen is sitting fifth, behind close rivals LDV third and Mercedes-Benz fourth, and well behind second-placed Vauxhall and runaway UK van market leader Ford. To try to achieve this Peter Wyhinny - who was until recently business development director with the BMW-owned Rover Group - is taking the reins as director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

The commercial vehicles operation has shed all connections with the world of cars and become a totally separate business within the Volkswagen Group. Wyhinny says he is not only getting excited about the £1 billion investment, but also the plans for a new dealership network of up to 100 bases around the country concentrating on commercial vehicles. With each one of these costing around £200,000 Wyhinny says the overall investment is immense, between £18 and £20 million on the dealerships.

In 1997, the group sold 15,012 commercials, but Wyhinny says he is confident of smashing this record by hitting the 18,000 mark this year.

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