Inside Volkswagen

by : Natalie Anderson

After the power struggle within Europe's largest carmaker and maker of popular has subsided, the automaker is fighting its own battle at MAN. Volkswagen has expressed its desire to have three seats on the supervisory board at the German Truckmaker MAN after increasing its stake in the Munich-based firm, reports a German daily.

According to the German daily Handelsblatt, Volkswagen has increased its stakes to just below 30 percent. Such amount of stakes traditionally would provide Volkswagen with three out of the twenty MAN supervisory board seats.

MAN's supervisory board is open for election and scheduled at the company's annual general meeting on May 10. The board is due to come up with a list of candidates which will be presented on their meeting on March 9. A MAN spokesman also said that "the report was pure speculation."

It should be noted that it was last November that Germany's Federal Cartel Office has approved the plans of Volkswagen to raise its stakes in MAN up to 30 percent. Volkswagen is MAN's largest shareholder and there are also some reports saying that VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech would like to head the supervisory board of MAN.

The current MAN Chairman Ekkehard Schulz is very much willing to relinquish his post to Piech since he believes that it is but right for MAN's largest shareholder to hold the chairmanship of the board.

SEAT President to Report Directly to Winterkorn

In other Volkswagen news: Audi AG the luxury car unit of VW said last Friday that the executive board member who manages the Spanish SEAT brand would now report directly to the parent company's board. This is actually part of the reorganization of the various brands that the new VW CEO Martin Winterkorn is employing.

When Winterkorn took over Volkswagen last January 1, he scrapped the previous organization of the Volkswagen Brand Group together with the Audi Brand Group which comprised of Audi, Seat, and Lamborghini. He did this in order to focus on the individual brands.

More Volkswagen News...VW says no to Chrysler buyout

The Chrysler buyout is the latest circulating news in the automotive industry and even VW was not saved from it. But Europe's largest automaker has announced last Friday that it has no interest in buying Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler.

Volkswagen has joined the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Hyundai Motor Co. in stating that they are not interested in buying Chrysler. Despite the news that General Motors Corp. have already engaged in preliminary talks with Daimler on the possible buyout of Chrysler.

DaimlerChrysler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said last February 14 that his company is considering all options for Chrysler but it is not ruling out the possibility of sale. There are at least four private equity groups that have expressed their interest in purchasing Chrysler and these are Apollo Management. The Blackstone Group, the Carlyle Group and the Cerberus Capital Management, all New York based. There are also some European firms that expressed their interest in Chrysler and have contacted Daimler before the Feb. 14 announcement made by Zetsche.

DaimlerChrysler together with its investment bank, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., is planning to offer Chrysler financial information to selected qualified buyers rather than hold a traditional auction.