Little and Large Show
When the small fish swallows the big fish, it will hardly cause a ripple here, writes PAUL GOVER
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.
The stuff of dreams: a VW with a Porsche badge . . . but it simply won’t happen, Porsche says.