BERLIN -- Volkswagen AG is headed for record vehicle sales across its 12 brands this year as the "strong trend" in deliveries is set to continue with November and December figures, CEO Matthias Mueller said.
Registrations at the world's largest automotive group including the Audi and Porsche nameplates jumped 8.2 percent in October to 940,800 cars, extending the 10-month gain to 3.2 percent or 8.75 million.
"All brands have most recently developed strongly," Mueller said on Wednesday at a staff gathering in Wolfsburg. "And I trust that also the two remaining months will confirm the strong trend. And that we will be able to finish the year 2017 on a new record."
In 2016, the first full year after VW's emissions test-cheating scandal, group sales increased 3.8 percent to a record 10.3 million cars, helped by a double-digit increase in China and gains in Europe.
Mueller said a drive to improve accountability and become more transparent was making slow progress. "On the issue of culture change, progress is in part still dragging," he said, without being more specific. "In many places we are still too slow, too bureaucratic and too hierarchical."
VW brand chief Herbert Diess, who has repeatedly clashed with the carmaker's top labor representatives over cost cuts, told Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper that differences with the unions persist even a year after a hard-fought turnaround plan was agreed.
"We are in part divided on how quickly the whole thing (reforms) should happen," Diess was quoted by Handelsblatt as saying.
Diess, however, separately said Volkswagen brand's management has the full backing of labor unions as it pushes ahead with the turnaround plan.
VW's mass-market brand has been undergoing heavy restructuring since it agreed with the works council on plans to cut 3.7 billion euros ($4.41 billion) of costs per year from 2020 and slash 23,000 jobs in Germany via natural attrition.
"I cannot complain about the cooperation with the works council," Diess said at a news conference, citing "very constructive" dealings with the unions.
"We are making good progress," he said, adding that the works council stands behind the goals of the so-called "future pact" agreed a year ago.