WOLFSBURG - Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn used a VW brand management meeting to provide a brutally honest look at what is forecast to be a difficult year.
"The core message was that we have to be well prepared," a participant at the meeting said. Winterkorn told the gathering that the auto industry crisis won't be over for a long time.
VW will have to work hard to stay on track but "if we do everything right together, then we will emerge from the crisis stronger than ever," Winterkorn told his audience of 2,000 company executives in a hall at the trade fair grounds in the eastern German city of Dresden.
In contrast to previous years, VW expanded the scope of invitees to the annual meeting to include young managers.
Winterkorn wants to reach rising executives will lead VW in coming decades, a company insider said.
Under VW's Strategy 2018 plan, Winterkorn aims to replace Toyota as the world's biggest automaker in terms of unit sales, earnings as well as customer and employee satisfaction.
Horst Neumann, VW's personnel chief, presented details a new bonus arrangement for top managers that is based on long-term company goals and replaces the current stock option program.
VW production chief Jochem Heizmann announced innovative methods to improve productivity in vehicle factories.
A speech by VW sales chief Christian Klingler focused on sustained improvement in customer satisfaction.