A top executive of German automaker Volkswagen AG (DE:VOWG_p) said Thursday the company expects to boost its sport-utility vehicle sales sharply by 2020 and will move to add electric vehicle offerings in the wake of its diesel emissions cheating scandal.
Herbert Diess, who heads the mass market Volkswagen brand, said the world’s largest carmaker by sales expects SUVs to account for 40 percent of its global sales, up from less than 15 percent today.
Volkswagen is building about 400 Atlas SUVs a day at its Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant, or a pace of about 100,000 per year, but will eventually be able to build 800 a day, the plant manager, Antonio Pinto, said.
Volkswagen has been shifting its focus in the United States from marketing compact cars and midsize sedans to promoting larger, U.S.-built SUVs such as the Atlas.
By David Shepardson
The European Central Bank is likely to announce a reduction of its monthly asset purchases in October, according to a majority of economists in a Reuters poll, who also said they expect the central bank to shut down the programme by the end of next year.
Expectations the ECB will scale back its stimulus have been supported by solid growth in the euro zone this year, although inflation, at 1.5 percent, remains below the central bank’s target of just under 2 percent.
In July, the ECB said it had not discussed reducing its asset purchases, also known as quantitative easing (QE), but signalled the change would likely come “this autumn”.
Nearly three-fourths of 66 economists in a Reuters poll taken Aug 28-31 expect the central bank to announce a change in October.
By Shrutee Sarkar
The growing uncertainty over the future of economic policy in the United States and weak global “reflationary” pressures make it more difficult to lift euro zone inflation, European Central Bank vice president Vitor Constancio said on Friday.
“The growing uncertainty surrounding the strength of the world economic recovery, and of the U.S. in particular, makes the normalisation of inflation and unemployment levels in the euro area more difficult,” Constancio told a conference in Cernobbio, Italy.
Gains for Europe and Asia pushed world shares back towards record highs on Friday, while the dollar crept up ahead of the monthly excitement of U.S. payrolls data.
Euro zone stocks (STOXXE) had been at risk of their second red week in a row but a 0.5 percent early rise looked to have dug them out of trouble, following gains in Asia and on Wall Street overnight. (N)
Near 6 percent jumps in French media firm Vivendi (PA:VIV) and Swedish car and truck maker Volvo (ST:VOLVb) lifted spirits, as did a rise in euro zone manufacturing data that showed the fastest rise in export orders since February 2011.
On-form mining companies (SXPP) remained hot as copper and iron ore [MET/L] headed for their eighth straight week of gains.
There was also some relief the euro seemed to have stalled and this year’s 13 percent rise wasn’t hurting firms just yet.
By Marc Jones