Volkswagen may not yet be done with acquiring brands.
Though nothing concrete was announced, supervisory board chairman Ferdinand Piech has left open the possibility of acquiring further brands by telling reporters “a dozen is easier to remember than 10.”
VW agreed in August to buy a 42% stake in the sports car unit of debt-ridden Porsche SE for EUR3.3bn ($4.80bn) which would be its 10th brand.
Asked by Reuters how likely it was that VW could acquire further brands, Piech said: “This is already being talked about” but declined to specify whether he was referring to internal talks or talks with competitors.
“Now Porsche is fine, now we can go on again,” Piech said. He also said he had given up on acquiring an Italian motorcycle brand.
Volkswagen chief financial officer Hans Dieter Poetsch was asked whether there were already talks with rivals. “Everybody talks to everybody,” he said, adding: “It’s not a big secret that we have a big position in [truck maker] MAN.”
Volkswagen, with almost 30%, is the largest MAN shareholder and has also gained majority control of Scania in its effort to establish itself in the trucks business.
There have been persistent rumours that VW would be interested in a tie-up with Suzuki Motor and a person familiar with the matter had told Reuters in August that there had already been talks.
At an event ahead of the Frankfurt show, VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn said the product portfolio of Suzuki would fit well with that of VW group but declined to comment further.
“Volkswagen is constantly looking to see what could fit,” Winterkorn said, referring to the VW brand portfolio.
He also said there were increasing signs of recovery in the automotive market but cautioned the crisis was not over yet. “The industry can be cautiously optimistic,” he said.
Winterkorn said VW’s group deliveries rose 9.5% in August and were down 2.1% year-to-date. The global car market fell 14% in the months from January to August.