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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Mar 06 2012, 7:45 PM

Earlier this year, news broke that Volkswagen had plans to to do a full takeover of Porsche, which VW owned 49.9-percent of. But now the former CFO of Porsche, Holger Haerter, is one of three people being charged with fraud in Germany over Porsche’s intent to supposedly acquire VW.

According to investors, Porsche had denied throughout much of 2008 that it intended to purchase rival German automaker, Volkswagen. But in October, Porsche said that it controlled most of VW’s common stock, causing its shares to surge as short-sellers rushed to cover their positions. Porsche, of course, has denied the allegations.

The three are being charged with fraud over statements made when Porsche refinanced a $13.2-billion loan, understanding Porsche’s liquidity needs by over $1.8-billion if all purchase options Porsche held on Volkswagen had been exercised. In addition, it is reported that the managers withheld information about options tied to VW shares that Porsche had sold.

The portion of the probe that involves Wendelin Wiedeking and Holger Haerter manipulating the price of VW shares is still ongoing, and may not be resolved until the middle of this year. Last year, Stuttgart prosecutors stated that their probe against Wiedking and Harter had “solidified” suspicions that Porsche didn’t properly inform the market of their intentions to acquire VW between 2007-2009.

Porsche has been sued in the U.S. and Germany by short sellers of VW stock and other investors, claiming that Porsche secretly gathered up VW shares and ultimately caused the shareholders’ losses. There is a total of four suits pending out in Germany and the plaintiffs are seeking over $2.6-billion.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Mar 14 2011, 10:12 PM

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Despite claims by Fiat that its not letting go of Alfa Romeo, Volkswagen is continuing to put pressure on the powers-that-be to acquire the premium brand.

Most recently VW chairman Ferdinand Piech commented that under the German automaker’s ownership sales of the Italian brand would quadruple. Now comes word that Volkswagen already has a complete plan in place to make that assertion a reality – including help from the sports car experts at Porsche.

In a report by AutoCar, it’s suggested that Alfa could get a new line of 4-cylinder boxer engines that Porsche is currently developing for use in its own sports cars. Also included in the plan is use of the additional production capacity at Seat’s Martorell facility to cope with the added demand that Porsche-powered Alfas would no doubt create.

Volkswagen’s preparedness is part of the automaker’s 2018 plan for global domination, with execs having publicly commented that it sees Alfa crucial to this goal.

[Source: AutoCar]

 |  Mar 02 2011, 2:58 AM

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If Fiat ever sells Alfa Romeo, says VW chairman Ferdinand Piech, Volkswagen could take the underperforming brand and quadruple its sales within five years. Ambitious? Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne certainly doesn’t think so.

“As long as I am CEO of Chrysler and Fiat,” he said, “Mr. Piech will never have Alfa Romeo.”

Marchionne suggested to Piech that VW should take care of SEAT, its ailing Spanish brand, before even considering the idea of adding another company to its 7-strong dossier. Piech had previously called SEAT a “foster child” in January, but had added that it was “growing fast.”

Overambition has never stopped Volkswagen in the past, however. “Volkswagen has time,” said Piech. After all, despite celebrating its 100th anniversary last year, Alfa Romeo only managed to sell 112,000 cars—well short of the 300,000 target it aimed to achieve with the new MiTo and Giuletta. A “money loser” is what Marchionne labeled it during his seven years with Fiat, claiming “I’m not sure if it ever really made any money.”

Hardly confidence-inspiring, but you can’t fault Piech for seeing a chance when it opens up, right?

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Feb 04 2011, 8:51 PM

After repeatedly voicing his interest in purchasing the Alfa Romeo brand from its Fiat parent company, Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech today received a decisive answer. It’s just not the answer he was looking for.

“As long as I am CEO of Chrysler and Fiat, Mr. Piech will never have Alfa Romeo. It’s hands-off,” said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, speaking at a J.D. Power conference.

And rather than leave it at that, Marchionne rebuked his rival, insisting that he would be better off to fix his own internal problems first. In particular, Marchionne referred to Seat (Volkswagen’s Spanish subsidiary), which has struggled to find buyers for its brand of rebadged Volkswagens in recent years.

After having neglected the Alfa Romeo brand, Fiat is looking to reinvest and will introduce a new sports car concept at the Geneva Auto Show this year, along with other new models, including a crossover based on the Jeep Compass.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Nov 11 2010, 4:33 PM

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Automotive News is reporting that Volkswagen is hoping to buy a stake in Ferrari, with the Italian sports car builder being of particular interest to Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech.

While Volkswagen already has Lamborghini, Bugatti and Porsche in its stable, Piech is apparently eyeing a chance to buy a stake in the Italian supercar maker. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne denied that he wanted to sell the brand, but did not rule out that he may sell a portion of the company to raise funds for Fiat and Chrysler.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  May 25 2010, 4:29 PM

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Legendary Italian design firm Italdesign Giugiaro will sell a 90 percent stake to the Volkswagen Group, as the German firm looks to consolidate even more power in the automotive world.

“The Volkswagen Group will be continuing its model initiative over the coming years and will benefit from the capacity and competence of Italdesign,” said Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, in a statement released to the media. Italdesign’s patriarch, Giorgetto Giugiaro helped design the first generation Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen’s most important product, along with the original Beetle.

For his part, Giugario felt that the move was necessary to ensure the survivability of his studio. “We have grown from a small studio to a substantial industrial organization which is able to deal with global automakers. There are times when individual egoism has to step back to ensure the future sustainability of jobs.” The price paid by VW for the firm was not disclosed to the media.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  May 19 2010, 1:01 PM

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Volkswagen patriarch Ferdinand Piech is no stranger to grandiose projects, having overseen the Volkswagen Phaeton uber-luxury sedan, as well as the Bugatti Veyron hypercar. While Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear lamented that the worst part about driving a Veyron is that after it was over,  he’d never be able to experience it again, it looks like there will be another opportunity.

In a speech given at a university in Vienna, Austria, Piech let it slip that engineers were working on an all new car that will develop 1200 horsepower. According to the poorly translated report, vehicles like the Koenigsegg CCXR have stolen some of the Veyron’s thunder by garnering ratings in excess of 1000 horsepower, and Bugatti is eager to take back the crown.

While power is a nice thing to have, a lighter curb weight would improve all facets of the vehicles performance, including acceleration, handling, braking and fuel economy. We hope that some weight reduction is in order for the next Bugatti, as the Veyron was anything but svelte, even if it was an awesome feat of technology.

[Source: TeamSpeed]

Report: VW Board Votes to Axe Porsche Panamera, Cayenne

Popular SUV and impressive sedan will run out current life-cycles, but won't live on

 |  Sep 01 2009, 10:53 AM

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Porsche’s new owners at Volkswagen are aiming to make some big changes at the German sport car maker, including eliminating any models that aren’t sports cars. That’s right, both the Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan are reportedly on the chopping block, according to a recent report in the U.K.’s CAR magazine.

In an article an unnamed source says that Volkswagen’s board has voted to kill off both models after their current life-cycles, which should stretch until around 2016.

“VW Group has plenty of SUVs and saloons [sedans], it doesn’t need Porsche to build them,” said an inside source to CAR.

VW and Porsche CEO Ferdinand Piech is leading the charge to return Porsche to a pure sports car company and leave sedans and SUVs to other areas of the 10-brand conglomerate. For our part, we hope the Panamera can live on in a second generation vehicle as some sort of stylish Audi.

This move is bolstering rumors that Porsche will bring to market a car something along the lines of VW’s BlueSport Roadster Concept, that fits in below the Boxster. Ideally this new model would keep the Porsche brand pure, while enabling high volume sales.

[Source: CAR via LeftLaneNews]

Volkswagen Looking To Buy Stake in Suzuki

VW eager to learn from Suzuki's success in the mini-car market

 |  Jun 26 2009, 10:18 AM

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Volkswagen is reportedly looking at purchasing a 10 percent stake in Suzuki as it looks to create a solid partnership with the Japanese automaker. Te reason for VW’s interest is Suzuki’s expertise in mini cars – like the Suzuki Alto, pictured above.

The Alto is currently the best-selling vehicle in India and Volkswagen wants to make sure it has a strong presence in emerging markets.

Suzuki, while a small player in developed markets like North America, is actually Japan’s second largest automaker if you count mini-car sales.

The partnership between the two automakers would see the development of a mini car to slot in under the upcoming small cars that will be based on the Volkswagen Up! concept (pictured below). The family of cars based on the Up! will be manufactured in Bratislava, Slovakia, are due out in 2011.

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Representatives from both Volkswagen and Suzuki have denied to comment on the matter, but VW’s CEO Ferdinand Piech has previously expressed interest in the Suzuki brand.

GALLERY: Suzuki Alto

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[Source: Reuters]