LONDON - Last week, Volkswagen AG bought Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. and agreed to build a luxury sport-utility in a joint venture with Porsche. This week, VW could buy Lamborghini.
In a flash, VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech has given his company the world's widest product range, from the 1.0-liter Seat Arosa to the 5.4-liter Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph. The automaker also has the VW, Skoda and Audi brands.
And some executives say VW may build a new small plant in Dresden, Germany, to produce a limited number - perhaps as few as 50 - of handmade luxury cars.
'It's not a plant making much volume or enormous profit,' said a VW executive. 'It's more like a piece of jewelry.'
The other jewel in play is Italy's Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. Its owners were in London last week to discuss selling the company, and VW is a bidder.
Many details of the Rolls purchase were left to be worked out, but the victory over BMW for the quintessential luxury-car brand gives Piech a flying start toward his goal.
Vickers PLC accepted Volkswagen's £430 million ($700 million) bid for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW had bid $550 million.
VW also agreed last week to buy Cosworth Engineering from Vickers for $200 million. Cosworth would make engines for Rolls and Audi.
Not everyone was happy with the sale. Peter Royce, great-nephew of Rolls-Royce founder Frederick Henry Royce, was resigned but angry. 'This decision was made by ignorant moneybags,' he said. 'They could make more money from pornography than cars if all they are interested in is money.'
The Rolls-Royce purchase is expected to be completed July 3.
'The acquisition of another brand is just one element' of VW's luxury strategy, said Bruno Adelt, VW board member for finance. 'The revenue expectations will satisfy the shareholders for the long term.'
Beatrix Israel, Mark Cooney and Luca Ciferri contributed to this report