Lit­tle and Large Show

When the small fish swal­lows the big fish, it will hardly cause a rip­ple here, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige News -

THERE will be no change in Aus­tralia when Porsche swal­lows Volk­swa­gen in Septem­ber. One of the world’s small­est car­mak­ers plans to com­plete its takeover of one of the world’s largest af­ter it in­creases its stake from 30 per cent to 51 per cent for more than $15 bil­lion.

A new Porsche com­pany struc­ture has been cre­ated to han­dle the change.

‘‘The most ob­vi­ous ques­tion in Aus­tralia is what im­pact this will have. Es­sen­tially at this point, or at any fore­see­able time, there is no in­ten­tion to make any changes,’’ Porsche Cars Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Win­kler says. ‘‘The in­di­vid­ual brands will be man­aged that way.

‘‘ What­ever co­op­er­a­tion there is will be done at arm’s length, even pur­chas­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing. Noth­ing changes re­ally in Aus­tralia at all.’’

Win­kler is in Ger­many and has been briefed on the takeover, which be­gan when the sportscar com­pany de­cided to pro­tect its fu­ture.

Porsche chiefs were wor­ried a big­ger ri­val could have taken con­trol of VW and in­di­rectly have swal­lowed it in the process.

‘‘The orig­i­nal in­ten­tion was to pro­tect Porsche. But what has been re­alised is that, af­ter buy­ing into the com­pany and see­ing what Volk­swa­gen is up to, there are op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able from in­creas­ing the stake.

‘‘We are clear­ing the pur­chase with the com­pe­ti­tion au­thor­i­ties in more than 20 coun­tries. It will be done by Septem­ber when the share­hold­ing will be just over 50 per cent,’’ Win­kler says.

It is a huge deal be­cause Porsche makes about 100,000 cars a year, whereas the Volk­swa­gen Group is in the top five glob­ally with sales of more than 5.7 mil­lion ve­hi­cles a year. That in­cludes ev­ery­thing from Bu­gatti and Bent­ley to Audi, Skoda and Seat.

Win­kler says the link will lead to more cost­ef­fec­tive joint projects on tech­nolo­gies for greener and safer cars.

‘‘Th­ese tech­nolo­gies are very ex­pen­sive but not nec­es­sar­ily brand spe­cific.’’

But he rules out Porsche us­ing cut-price Volk­swa­gen parts.

‘‘There is a very clear un­der­stand­ing that the brands stand for them­selves,’’ he says.

‘‘Will there be an­other 914 or 924? The an­swer is def­i­nitely not.’’

But Porsche will be ex­ert­ing con­trol over Volk­swa­gen.

‘‘Strate­gi­cally, over time as some con­trol is ex­er­cised over the su­per­vi­sory board at Volk­swa­gen there will be an op­por­tu­nity to give the brands a clearer fo­cus, to stop them com­pet­ing so much with each other,’’ Win­kler says.

Pic­ture: COM­PUTER GEN­ER­ATED

The stuff of dreams: a VW with a Porsche badge . . . but it sim­ply won’t hap­pen, Porsche says.

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