VW will stop buying brands to focus on integration, CEO says
BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn said he's not planning additional purchases as Europe's largest carmaker focuses on integrating Porsche, Ducati motorbikes and heavy-truck maker MAN.
"We have enough to do at the moment in taking our twelve brands to where we want to be," Winterkorn said in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt. VW confirmed his comments.
Volkswagen earlier this month completed the 4.49 billion-euro ($5.62 billion) purchase of the remaining 50.1 percent of Porsche that it didn't own. The deal added the 12th brand to VW's portfolio after buying Ducati in Italy in July and raising its stake in Munich-based MAN to 75 percent in June.
VW is not currently interested in bidding for Malaysian carmaker Proton, Winterkorn said today. "We need to grow in Southeast Asia," he said. "But that does not mean that we will buy Malaysia's Proton, like some are speculating."
Winterkorn said he still finds Fiat's Alfa Romeo an attractive brand. At the Paris auto show two years ago Ferdinand Piech, head of VW's supervisory board, said he wanted to acquire Alfa Romeo.
"That I find Alfa Romeo an interesting brand is not a secret," Winterkorn said. "But we are currently busy enough with our brands."
Porsche, which is already using parts and technology from the VW group, still needs to adapt its working processes to deepen cooperation with VW's other brands, said Michael Punzet, analyst at DZ Bank in Frankfurt.
VW may seek a domination agreement to gain greater control at MAN and needs to plan the cooperation with Scania, which VW also controls, he said.
"If VW gets offered Alfa Romeo or Proton for a cheap price, they would not decline," Punzet said. "But at the moment I guess they are really focusing on integrating Porsche and consolidating the truckmakers MAN and Scania."
Marchionne comments 'nonsense'
In response to accusations from Sergio Marchionne, his counterpart at Fiat, that VW was waging a price war in Europe, Winterkorn told Handelsblatt that the comments were nonsense.
"Success comes to whoever builds the right cars at the right time at the right place," he said, adding that VW itself is locked into "brutal global competition."
Reuters and Automotive News Europe contributed to this reportContact Automotive News