Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler are in talks on a range of joint projects, Volkswagen’s chief executive Bernd Pischetsrieder told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport in an interview released ahead of publication on Wednesday.
“Strategic teams from both sides are now discussing a list of various projects,” he added, according to Reuters, but made clear VW would not cooperate with Daimler’s Mercedes Car Group in any area that would compete against VW’s Audi brand.
The news agency noted that Pischetsrieder had said nearly two weeks ago that VW was in talks with Stuttgart-based DaimlerChrysler over potential partnerships beyond current plans with Daimler’s US arm Chrysler to build a VW van for the North American market.
“I hope that the van project we are discussing can be signed and sealed this year,” he reportedly said. “And why shouldn’t one also consider, for example, cooperating with Dodge on the (VW) Polo?”
According to Reuters, he said cooperation on a subcompact car did not mean that the two models had to be built on the same platform and noted that they could have sharply differentiated modules.
“If you really want to attain maximum independence in a partnership, then we have to open our entire tool kit for the partner,” he said. “We will not do this if we only have a contract on one car. Our goal for DaimlerChrysler is a basic governing agreement as with Porsche.”
Pischetsrieder reportedly said a joint project with DaimlerChrysler on delivery vans with the Mercedes Sprinter and VW LT was a perfect example of how such ties could work.
“Volkswagen’s delivering 120,000 diesel motors a year to the DaimlerChrysler group is also a further step,” he added.
Asked if VW sought more partnerships, he said. “These two suffice. And this has nothing to do with Germany Inc in case anyone has this wrong idea,” he said, referring to a system of interlocking ties between German companies to protect them from hostile takeovers.
According to Reuters, Pischetsrieder said it would be impossible for the automotive industry to hit the European Union’s target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from cars to 120 grams per km driven by 2012.
He also thought the future for reducing emissions from diesel motors lay in using urea-based additives, technology that DaimlerChrysler has shown at car shows.
Pischetsrieder added that VW would cease development of its unit injection system for its diesel engines to focus on common rail in order to reduce complexity and increase efficiency, Reuters said.