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Porsche‘s announcement that a Cayenne Diesel will finally be available to U.S. buyers was fairly big news at this year’s New York Auto Show. However, we’ve now learned that the Stuttgart automaker plans to introduce a more powerful oil burning SUV, a V8 diesel Cayenne S.
Details are still rather sketchy on exactly which engine it will use. While the existing V8 diesel used by Audi for its A8 flagship might seem the most logical choice, it’s getting on in years and with looming tighter emissions standards in Europe it probably won’t make the cut.
Along with the Saab saga, the story of VW‘s attempt to buy Porsche AG has been nothing short of a soap opera, with twists and turns at every juncture. After previous attempts by the Wolfsburg automaker to purchase the remaining shares in the smaller Stuttgart concern fell through, it now appears, the deal may be on again.
Both automakers have talked about consolidation for years, yet when former Porsche CEO Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking’s attempt to buy a larger stake in VW fell through, the tables turned; thanks to German law that required Volkswagen to buy shares in Porsche instead.
However, despite VW currently owning more than 49 percent of Porsche and the two companies sharing an upper management structure, there’s still little in the way of cohesiveness when it comes to operations, each firm doing its own thing when it relates to aspects such as R&D, engineering, manufacturing and sales and marketing. This is something that’s proving particularly troublesome, especially for strategic projects, such as upcoming EV vehicles and new lightweight sports cars.
Now, it appears that greater integration between the two companies might finally become a reality this year, information leaked by sources at VW suggest that Porsche has put in an option to sell its remaining 50.1 percent of shares this November.
If that does come to pass, Volkswagen could purchase Porsche outright by the end of the year, however German tax complexities mean that if an outright purchase were to take place before VW can exercise its own call option on the remaining shares (which would be March at the earliest) the merger would be subjected to higher taxation, not something that either company wants.
Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen and Porsche, is clearly frustrated at the present lack of integration between the two companies, something he reiterated earlier this month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
“We want to cooperate with Porsche in such a way that as many synergies can be leveraged as soon as possible,” he said, “without needing to have a lawyer stand next to a Porsche employee every time he screws something into a Volkswagen or vice-versa.”
Porsche Automobil Holding SE is the company that holds the 50.1% majority of Porsche AG, the manufacturing arm that actually builds the cars. But Volkswagen is looking to exercise an option that allows them to take over the other half, without going through Porsche SE first. As a result, Porsche is now scrambling to attract investors as an independent entity, while trying to avoid a potential merger.
“We cannot say with certainty which approach Porsche SE will take,” said Porsche finance chief Hans Dieter Poetsch.
The original merger was scheduled for the end of 2011, but due to legal troubles there’s only a 50% chance of that still happening.
Porsche was once the last independent sports car manufacturer (next to, say, Morgan); can they foist off their potentially messy Volkswagen invasion?
[Source: Automotive News Europe]
Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is leaving his position at the helm of Germany’s most renowned sports car maker and he isn’t leaving voluntarily. Wiedeking was sacked by the Porsche’s executive board late yesterday so that the company could move forward with a “merger” with Germany’s largest automaker, Volkswagen. The now former CEO opposed the deal and so has been removed, along with the company’s chief financial officer Holger Haerter.
The reality is that the merger is anything but and that with Wiedeking gone Volkswagen will now look to add Porsche as one of its many brands (10 in total) that include such names as Bentley and Lamborghini.
Wiedeking has run Porsche for the past 16 years and can be credited for saving it with the introduction of the Cayenne SUV. In fact, he took it from the brink of bankruptcy to being the world’s most profitable automaker. For that he will be well rewarded with a $71 million severance.
Unfortunately Wiedeking’s ambition became his own downfall as he attempted a takeover of Volkswagen, a company 16 times Porsche’s size. The move might have worked too, were it not for the crumbling worldwide economy, which slowed the company’s cash flow and made the enormous amount of debt wracked up in the attempted VW takeover too much to bear.
Volkswagen has reportedly offered to buy Porsche outright but wants it to fix its finances first. That plan may already be in the works as Porsche has also announced it will raise $7 billion in equity from Qatar Holding LLC.
Volkswagen’s board of management will reportedly meet today to decide on further action.
Porsche’s executive position has fallen to production boss Michael Macht.