Ladies and gentlemen, For me, the last 60 minutes here in Paris have demonstrated one thing very clearly: The fascination of the automobile has never been as strong and vibrant as it is today! And the Volkswagen Group and its brands bring this fascination to life like no other automaker. The SEAT IBE, the Caddy Blue Motion and the E-Octavia show that this Group stands for responsible mobility. Across the entire powertrain spectrum. The Audi and Lamborghini studies demonstrate how this Group combines performance and efficiency through top technology and lightweight design. The Porsche 911 Speedster, the Bentley GT and Bugatti Veyron are tangible proof that this Group has raised the bar yet again in the growth market for exclusivity and luxury. And the new Volkswagen Passat epitomizes how this Group makes top class innovations accessible to all. This technological spectrum - from the Up! to the 44-ton truck - above all strengthens the mid-range of the automotive world. And substantiates our exceptional position on world markets. That is also confirmed by the latest sales figures: For the very first time, the Volkswagen Group will deliver more than 5 million vehicles worldwide in the period January to September 2010.
That means we have once again outperformed the world market. Obviously, caution is still called for: Economic conditions remain uncertain and difficult to read. But from the viewpoint of Volkswagen, I have no hesitation in saying: The signs for the automobile industry are once again looking good! Ladies and gentlemen, As you know, we laid important strategic foundations for the future of Volkswagen in recent months.
The integration of Porsche in the Group is in full swing. Together with Suzuki we will be highly profitable in the booming minicar segment. The acquisition of a majority shareholding in Italdesign underscores our claim to perfect engineering and design. Scania and MAN are cooperating in the growth market for heavy trucks. We have either already opened new plants in China, India, Russia and the USA or have set this process in motion. We are bringing 70 new models to market this year alone. And our modular toolkits are taking us another great step forward in productivity and returns. All this shows that Volkswagen is working flat out on the mobility group of the future!
At the same time, we are very aware that we have set a fast pace. The Group is growing; it is becoming more international and more complex. But: We still have both feet planted very firmly on the ground! And we are keeping a firm grip on growth! Because we have the experience and the skill to manage a multi-brand group of this format well. Because we are moving ahead with the necessary structural changes and are deploying our management resources even more effectively. But above all, because our brands and regions are now working even closer together. The "we-feeling", that sense of togetherness, in the Volkswagen Group is strong - and it's still growing! I believe that feeling is in the air tonight here in Paris, too! The multi-brand strategy is our biggest plus point compared with all competitors! • With ten independent and clearly positioned automobile brands. • And an efficient headquarters that takes care of coordination and synergies. It's this interaction that creates the enormous strength of this Group and its brands!
Ladies and gentlemen, The Volkswagen Group has worked its way to the top step by step. Strategy 2018 is, and will remain, our guide on the path towards becoming number one in the automobile industry! But please let me add something here: Our Strategy 2018 is not an end in itself! Size alone is not an end in itself! Our goal is to make Volkswagen the best and most future-proof automotive group in the world!
With the most satisfied employees. With the best quality and customer satisfaction. With high-quality earnings and a return on sales in excess of eight percent. And, of course, also with vehicle sales of at least 10 million units by 2018. If we devote our undivided attention to these goals, then size is a welcome result, but not the main objective of our actions!
I am sure that Volkswagen can tackle these challenges from a position of strength.
Because we have a stable, responsible shareholder structure. Because we have strong brands and a top team on board. And above all, because we offer our customers all over the world the right vehicles. At the end of the day, the only thing that really counts in our business is: The best product and the best service! That is why the absolute focus on our vehicles and our customers is the hallmark of the Volkswagen Group! Our entire team is committed to that! And I vouch for it personally.
We are delighted to be taking you with us on this journey!