Winterkorn recently spoke about the Group's plans in an interview with German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, admitting it was possible for Volkswagen to have 500,000 employees next year. The figure is up from the current 449,000 workers.
The planned expansion comes as Winterkorn continues to press forward to meet the company's goal of becoming the world's largest car manufacturer by 2018. One of Winterkorn's plans of attack is through the use of interchangeable platforms: the modular standard matrix, modular transverse matrix and modular longitudinal matrix, each providing foundations for various vehicle segments. Winterkorn said,
"You are no longer competitive in the auto industry without such a strategy. Our modular approach reduces costs, production and development time and makes possible an even greater variety of models and technologies."For example, the modular transverse platform reduces one-time and unit costs by 20 per cent. The production time per vehicle decreases by about 30 per cent, to say nothing of the significant reductions in weight and emissions."
Meanwhile the two main German competitors, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, have no immediate plans for such vast employee expansion. Both BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer and Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche have said expansions will depend on business developments.