Winterkorn seeks to cut his VW pay ahead of wage talks
At 17.5 million euros, Winterkorn was Germany's top-earning CEOs.
BERLIN -- Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, the highest-paid top manager among Germany's biggest companies, has proposed that he should take a self-imposed pay cut as the automaker prepares for wage talks with production staff in western Germany.
Current rules on executive pay, combining fixed salary, bonuses and profit incentives, would boost Winterkorn's total compensation for 2012 to about 20 million euros ($26.8 million) from a record 17.5 million euros in 2011, a company official has said.
"If I were seriously to get 20 million euros, it would surely not be possible to explain this to the people," Winterkorn told the German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published on Friday. Michael Brendel, a VW spokesman confirmed the comments.
About 100,000 workers at VW's six factories in western Germany and its financial services division are gearing up for pay talks with management this spring. The company may face calls by the IG Metall union for as much as a 6.5 percent pay increase, VW's works council chief Bernd Osterloh said on Jan. 31. Winterkorn's plea for his own package to be reduced will be taken up by the carmaker's supervisory board, which may use its next meeting on Feb. 22 to decide on steps to limit future increases in executives' compensation, Osterloh said.
Winterkorn reiterated that VW is considering producing a budget-priced vehicle, costing 6,000 euros to 7,000 euros, and that the car would be built with one of its Chinese partners starting in 2015, Spiegel reported. Working to bring down costs on the vehicle without losing Volkswagen's quality standards will be very demanding, Winterkorn said at the Detroit auto show last month.
Volkswagen aims to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions across its fleet to 95 grams per kilometer by 2020 to comply with possible European Union environmental standards, Winterkorn said, according to Spiegel. That would equal fuel consumption of about four liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers (59 U.S. mpg).
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this reportContact Automotive News