VW Scales Back Job Cuts in Labor Deal for German Truck Brand MAN

Volkswagen AG won the backing of powerful labor unions for a stripped back 1.7 billion-euro ($2 billion) profit-improvement plan at its MAN truck division with a concession to cut fewer job cuts than initially planned.

MAN will eliminate about 3,500 positions in Germany by the end of 2022 in a revamp expected to cost a “high-triple-digit” million-euro sum, the VW division said Tuesday in a statement. That’s less than half the 9,500 job cuts envisaged last year, and just shy of the original 1.8 billion-euro target.

“The job cuts are to be implemented in the most socially responsible manner possible,” MAN said. There will be no forced layoffs, works council head Saki Stimoniaris said separately. A site in Wittlich will be downsized, and options including a sale considered will be considered for factories in Plauen and Steyr, Austria.

Despite years of restructuring, MAN has remained a drag on earnings at VW’s Traton SE truck division, which also includes the Swedish Scania brand and a smaller operation in Latin America. Traton hammered out a deal last year to acquire its U.S. partner Navistar International Corp. for $3.7 billion to expand in North America.

MAN reiterated Tuesday a target for an operating return on sales of 8%, without giving a timeline. It’s previously warned it could lose as much as much as 750 million euros in 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the transportation sector in Europe hard.

VW announced a year ago it planned to squeeze out MAN’s minority shareholders to achieve full integration into the Traton holding, but postponed the project to 2021 when the virus outbreak disrupted manufacturing. VW holds a stake of almost 95%.

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