BERLIN -- Volkswagen Group is pondering spinoffs of noncore assets such as motorcycle maker Ducati and transmissions maker Renk, as the automaker seeks to boost its efficiency and become more nimble.
"For noncore businesses such as Ducati, Renk and [large engines unit] MAN Diesel & Turbo, we will draw up sustainable future perspectives," CEO Herbert Diess said on Thursday at the company's annual shareholder meeting here.
The deliberations could lead to steps to expand those businesses and to develop growth strategies, but spinoffs "are also conceivable," Diess said, without being more specific.
Diess also promised that VW will make ethics a top priority.
His remarks came as activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals demonstrated during the meeting against VW's involvement in tests that exposed monkeys to engine fumes to study effects of diesel exhaust emissions.
VW will expand its internal whistleblower system and reinforce its compliance organization, Diess told shareholders.