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On it’s path to global domination, Volkswagen has made another official takeover bid, this time for German heavy truck maker MAN.
VW said that on May 9th, that it held more than 30 percent stock in MAN, which under German law, means the company was required to make a bid on all remaining shares in the truck company.
VW’s offer to third party shareholders for the remaining stock, included a price of 95 Euros ($136.80) for ordinary shares and 59.90 Euros ($86.81) for preferred shares.
The acquisition of MAN is part of a wider plan for VW to create a commercial vehicle powerhouse, having already acquired controlling interest in Swedish truck maker Scania.
However, anti-trust laws have placed a few obstacles in the path of bringing MAN, Scania and VW’s own commercial operations under a single umbrella. Nevertheless, the company remains undeterred and is looking to continue the process bit by bit, acquiring between 35 to 40 percent of the outstanding shares in MAN.
This will give VW multiple strategic options to pursue as well as potentially saving some 200 million Euros per year thanks to joint purchasing of all three brands. Both MAN and Scania are somewhat unique in the commercial vehicle sector in that they don’t rely on proprietary sources for major components such as engines, choosing instead to build their own. This aspect alone will give the new triumvirate a very solid position in the commercial vehicle market.
Besides acquiring MAN, VW is also finalizing its takeover of Porsche AG, which, once completed will become the company’s 10th individual brand.
Saab could have taken the easy way out and upgraded the vehicle architecture of the current 9-3. But instead, they have started work on an entirely new and versatile platform to underpin their 9-3, 9-5 and even larger future models, a move that is far more costly and time-consuming.
Then again, the current 9-3 chassis dates back to 2002, when the Epsilon platform was just a twinkle in GM’s eye. And now that Saab has divulged themselves of that messy period, they are seeking to venture forth on their own with “Phoenix,” the code name for their new architecture and named after their stunning Geneva concept.
The new Phoenix will be available with unique McPherson struts and “race-car style” five-link rear axle, made by Swedish supplier ZF. It will be flexible enough for the new 9-3 and the larger 9-5 when it’s replaced in a few years (even though the current 9-5 was just introduced, it gives an indication to how far ahead Saab’s planning this). It can also be stretched up to 18 feet for a range-topping “9-7″ if need be.
The inspiration for this one-chassis approach comes from truck company Scania, which has used a modular platform open to upgrading over generations of vehicles without reengineering the entire thing. Scania, which used to own Saab back in the 1960s, is providing technical assistance to the new platform project.
Volkswagen is hoping to ensure their long-term success by renewing the contract of CEO Martin Winterkorn for an undisclosed length of time. In a speech to VW employees in Germany, Bernd Osterloh, the advisory board’s chief deputy said that Winterkorn has “advanced the company in every respect.”
Under Winterkorn’s leadership, Volkswagen has acquired truck maker Scania and is in the process of merging with sports car maker Porsche. VW posted its largest profit in two years during the 2nd quarter of 2010, amid rising Chinese sales. Volkswagen is aiming to be the world’s largest car maker by 2018.
[Source: Detroit News]