Truck Talk

Renschler Readies Himself For VW Challenge

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  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Andreas Renschler enjoyed so much success in building the truck business at Daimler that he was hired away by Volkswagen to do the same with its MAN and Scania brands. But he faces a series of tough decisions and much resistance from within the individual companies.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • In May 2014, Volkswagen paid around €7 billion to acquire control of Scania.
    • Volkswagen plans to unite its three brands, MAN, Scania and the Volkswagen commercial vehicle unit, into one global truck division.
    • Andreas Renschler’s biggest challenge will be creating cost-saving synergies between the brands, while preventing cannibalization.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

One year ago, when Andreas Renschler announced his move to the executive board at Volkswagen after many years at Daimler, it was considered almost sacrilegious. There’s an unwritten law in the car industry, that once you join Volkswagen, Daimler or BMW, you stay there. This is particularly true of senior executives such as Mr. Renschler, 56, who most recently ran car production for Daimler after previously leading its truck unit.

It was this expertise in the truck sector that led Volkswagen Chairman Martin Winterkorn to lure him to Wolfsburg from Stuttgart. Volkswagen needed a lot of help in this area. Although the company has acquired two heavyweights in the past two years, Scania and MAN, it hasn’t quite known what to do with them.

The two companies operated almost independently and in parallel to Volkswagen’s existing commercial vehicle unit. But this side-by-side existence will end with Mr. Renschler’s arrival this week. While the Stuttgart native has a jovial personality, colleagues say, he is absolutely serious about what he wants to achieve.

He has had ample time in the past twelve months to plan the future structure of the truck division, in a way that allows for maximum synergies to be leveraged from the two heavy-duty commercial vehicle producers. Continuing efforts to develop new exhaust systems, motors and other components in two different locations within Volkswagen makes little financial sense.

“First of all, he will visit the company sites and listen,” a source said. Important groups, like the works councils, will be high on this list – it is widely acknowledged that no smooth restructuring of the truck operations can proceed without their active involvement.

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