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经济学人:德国大众 征服全世界(下)

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VW bet on China nearly 30 years ago. Now it is the world’s biggest car market and VW has 18% of it, through two joint ventures. They sell 2m vehicles a year and plan to double this by 2018. A glut of cheap cars is hurting prices in China but VW’s premium models are doing well the group’s share of its Chinese ventures’ profits rose from 1.9 billion in 2010 to 2.6 billion last year. VW has long been big in Brazil (market share 22%), and is expanding fast in Russia (9%). The weakest BRIC in its wall is India, where its share is less than 5%. Suzuki, whose affiliate Maruti Suzuki has almost 50% of the Indian market, should have been the perfect partner there.

大众在中国落户已30年有余,如今中国是全球最大的汽车销售市场,大众公司通过在华的两家合资企业,占中国市场的18%。在华每年卖出200万辆汽车,并计划在2018年将此销售量翻番。虽然由于市场供过于求。廉价车价受到打压,但大众高档车型销量却未受影响——集团在两家中国合资公司的股份从2010年的19万亿欧元,上升至2011年的26万亿欧元。大众长期主宰巴西市场(市场份额22%),并在俄罗斯迅速扩张(9%)。印度是大众在金砖四国中势力最薄弱的一国,大众在该地的市场份额仅占不到5%,而铃木的旗下的玛鲁蒂铃木却占有印度近50%的市场。铃木本应成为大众开拓印度市场的完美伙伴。

大众征服世界一.jpg

The “Beetlemania” that VW enjoyed in America in the 1960s, when its Beetle was the pioneer of smaller, cheaper cars, faded in the 1970s. Decades of weak sales and losses ensued. VW closed its Pennsylvania factory in 1988 because the cars it made were lousy. It tried importing from Mexico but couldn’t make this pay. Now, with a big new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a revamped dealer network and the successful launch of the new Jetta, a family saloon, VW is back on a roll in America. Its sales there rose by 23% last year to 444,000, and its aim of selling 1m cars by 2018 looks achievable. However, VW’s quality ratings in America remain well below average, according to surveys by J.D. Power.

19世纪60年代,大众在美国掀起一股“甲壳虫热潮”,公司推出的甲壳虫系列开创了小型廉价轿车时代。70年代,热潮消退,销售疲软和亏损接踵而至。大众不得不在1988年因产品质量问题,关闭了宾夕法尼亚的车厂。公司曾尝试从墨西哥进口成品车,但却入不敷出。现在,大众在田纳西州的查特努加市开设新厂,改进了经销商网络,并在新家用杰塔轿车的发行上大获成功,以此宣告重回美国市场。去年,大众在美国的销量为44.4万辆,上涨了23%,如此看来,大众2018年售出1百万辆汽车的销售目标触手可得。然而,据J.D. Power的调研显示,大众汽车的质量评分在依旧远低于美国平均水平。
Like BMW, another admired German carmaker, VW seems to have succeeded because it is run by petrolheads. Mr Piech’s passion for engineering pervades the group. He is the strategist; Mr Winterkorn the get-things-done guy. Hans-Dieter Petsch, the chief financial officer, has helped a lot by controlling costs, says Max Warburton of Sanford C. Bernstein, an investment bank. VW’s other chiefs enjoy considerable freedom—unless they incur the chairman’s wrath.
同德国另一家享有盛名的汽车制造商宝马公司一样,大众今天的成就或许是因为领导人都是车迷。皮耶希先生对汽车工程的热情遍及整个大众集团,他是出谋策划的策略家。文德恩先生是落实计划的实干者。首席财务官汉斯-迪特·珀奇则控制开支为公司贡献良多,投资银行桑福德-伯恩斯坦公司的马克思·沃伯顿评论道。除非大众的其他总裁惹怒了主席,他们还是能够享受的相当大的自由。
For all VW’s success, it is rare to hear people outside the firm praising the “Volkswagen Way” as they once lauded the “Toyota Production System”. VW has ignored Toyota’s obsession with the production line, says Mr Warburton, and concentrated on saving costs through parts-sharing between models. It has managed to preserve a culture of permanent innovation and a willingness to take risks. If there is a Volkswagen Way, it is to be determined, diligent and attentive to detail, with a glint of ruthlessness.
大众虽取得成功,但鲜有外人像当初称赞“丰田生产模式”那样赞扬“大众模式”。文德恩先生说,同丰田不同,大众并不迷恋生产线,而是注重通过不同车型间的零部件共享来节约成本。大众成功的保存着永久创新和勇于冒险的企业文化。如果真有大众模式可言,那必定是勤奋果断,在专注细节中带有一丝无情。
Still, plenty could go wrong. Toyota captured the top spot from GM in 2008, only to stumble on quality as it rushed for quantity. VW’s shared platforms make it vulnerable if one of them turns out to be flawed.
可能出差错的地方还有很多。2008年,丰田从通用手中夺过头名,怎料却在急于提高数量时,被质量所羁绊。如果大众生产的某一车型出现缺陷,那么公司所使用的共享平台会使大众集团变得不堪一击。
Sprawl and loss of focus are another risk. Take the SEAT brand, for instance, which lost 225m last year. What is it for Mr Winterkorn describes it as VW’s “sporty, design-oriented” brand for young people. But how does SEAT’s new Toledo, which VW describes as “a practical, top-quality and affordable car for the whole family”, fit that image If VW already has one brand too many, SEAT is it.
无计划的扩展和缺乏中心目标是另一种风险。以西亚特品牌为例,该品牌去年亏损2.25亿欧元。缘何至此?文德恩先生将其描述为大众旗下的一款专为年轻人设计的以“运动性和设计感为导向”的品牌。但是西亚特新推出的Toledo却被描述为“一款实用质优的家庭适用车”,这又该如何匹配西亚特先前的描述?若说大众的某一品牌已略显多余,那必是西亚特。
An earlier growth spurt, during Mr Piech’s time as chief executive, led to VW’s brands churning out lots of competing models while overlooking popular new trends, such as the “compact multipurpose vehicle” pioneered by Renault with its Scenic. Upper-end Volkswagens and Skodas are now competing with lower-end Audis. SEATs, Skodas and VWs have different images but much in common under the hood. Relying on buyers’ brand loyalty has worked so far, but for how long Procter & Gamble, which is to toiletries what VW is to cars, stumbled after “taking on every competitor in every category in every region of the world at once,” as an analyst put it in The Economistlast week. That seems to be what VW is doing now.
在皮耶希先生担任首席执行官时,大众早期生意急剧增长,导致大众旗下的品牌大量炮制对手车型,却忽视了紧随流行新趋势,例如雷诺公司就以雷诺风景引领紧凑型多功能车的发展。大众和斯柯达旗下的高端车型现今正与奥迪旗下的低端车型同台竞技。西亚特,斯柯达以及大众的汽车虽外形不同,但内在结构却极为相似。大众集团依靠消费者对品牌的忠诚度一路走到现在,可这样又能走多远?正如某分析师在上周发行的《经济学人》提出的那样,大众公司在汽车业的地位就如宝洁公司在化妆品业的地位,宝洁公司在“一次性同全球各地,所有种类的竞争对手较量”后开始蹒跚而行,大众似乎正在复制宝洁的旧路。
VW is so big in China that it would be vulnerable to a downturn there. Likewise in Brazil, where its Chinese rivals are starting to encroach. And VW has a closer challenger in its rear-view mirror Hyundai-Kia, which is pushing upmarket while continuing to churn out small, good-value motors. It has around half of its home market in South Korea, is ahead of VW with a 9% share in America and is making inroads in Europe and emerging markets. And unlike VW, it does not have a profusion of brands to support.
大众公司在中国的业务做的如此之大,一旦中国经济开始衰退,大众将会很容易受影响。在巴西亦如此,大众的中国对手正着手同其争夺巴西市场。而且还有一位挑战者紧随大众身后:韩国现代汽车公司在大量生产物美价廉的小型车时,还在转攻高端市场。现代公司占据了南韩本土市场的近二分之一,在美国则以9%的市场份额领先于大众,并且现代公司正准备进军欧洲市场和新兴市场。而同大众不同,现代公司旗下没有大量的品牌来支持自己。
If the euro falls apart, VW’s German factories will suddenly find their costs denominated in expensive Deutschmarks. That cosy relationship with Lower Saxony (whose blocking stake the European Commission is seeking to remove) might become a burden if VW needed to make swift cuts to maintain profitability. If circumstances require a change of direction, the monoculture at the top of VW may react slowly. With so many executives close to retirement—Mr Piech is 75 and Mr Winterkorn 65—succession is another worry.
如果欧元瓦解,大众在德国的工厂将突然发现,他们的生产成本将会以昂贵的德国马克计算。若大众想大刀阔斧削减开支以维持盈利,那么它同下萨克森州之间的亲密关系将成为负担(欧洲委员会正试图转移州政府持有的拦截性股权)。如果形势逼迫大众改变方向,大众高层单一的文化又有可能反应迟缓。皮耶希先生现年75岁,文德恩先生65岁,大众公司诸多执行官年近退休,继任者又是另一个令人担忧的问题。
However, such problems are hypothetical. As VW drives relentlessly towards world domination, Bernstein’s Mr Warburton says that Mr Piech “will go down in history as an automotive legend, in the same class as Gottlieb Daimler, Henry Ford and Kiichiro Toyoda.”
不管怎样,上述问题纯属假设。伯恩斯坦的沃伯顿先生称,当大众毫不留情的驶向世界顶端统治全球时,皮耶希先生“将同戈特利布·戴姆勒,亨利-福特及丰田喜一郎,作为汽车界的传奇人物名留青史。”

译文属译生译世

重点单词   查看全部解释    
determined [di'tə:mind]

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adj. 坚毅的,下定决心的

 
ruthlessness ['ru:θlisnis]

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n. 无情;冷酷;残忍

 
react [ri'ækt]

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vt. 作出反应
vi. 起反应,起作用,反攻

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gamble ['gæmbl]

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v. 赌博,投机,孤注一掷
n. 赌博,冒险

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preserve [pri'zə:v]

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v. 保存,保留,维护
n. 蜜饯,禁猎区

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diligent ['dilidʒənt]

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adj. 勤奋的,用功的

 
affordable [ə'fɔ:dəbl]

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adj. 支付得起的,不太昂贵的

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rare [rɛə]

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adj. 稀罕的,稀薄的,罕见的,珍贵的
ad

 
challenger

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n. 挑战者

 
compact [kəm'pækt]

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n. 合约条约,梳妆粉盒
adj. 紧凑的,紧

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