HAMBURG (Reuters) - Volkswagen is targeting savings and efficiency improvements of more than 4 billion euros ($4.85 billion) by 2008, its chief executive said in Hamburg in remarks released on Friday morning.
In order to reach its target of improving earnings by 2008 by 4 billion euros, Europe's largest carmaker said it needs to save more than this amount to account for eventual mid-term developments in market prices, exchange rates and the sales mix of its models.
"What I said in an interview recently was an improvement in earnings by 4 billion by 2008," Bernd Pischetsrieder told reporters late on Thursday, referring to an interview earlier this month with German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The sum of savings and efficiency improvements required then is "naturally more than this (4 billion) figure," he continued.
Pischetsrieder was speaking to reporters at a dinner on Thursday night on the understanding that his remarks would not be released until early Friday morning.
Volkswagen is already planning to achieve savings and efficiency improvements of 3.1 billion euros this year to help it reach its forecast of higher operating profit this year, a goal Pischetsrieder reaffirmed on Thursday.
The Volkswagen CEO also said that he was considering expanding the capacity of its manufacturing plant in Puebla, Mexico, to 500,000 vehicles per year from roughly 400,000 currently.
Contrary to media reports citing the province's governor, though, VW said it is not planning to build a new factory in Central or South America.
Responding to recent speculation over a possible requirement of fresh cash, Pischetsrieder said the company was not in need of a capital increase.