The German Manager Magazin will write in its print edition that Volkswagen is considering buying all or part of Isuzu, the diesel-centric Japanese truck and commercial vehicle manufacturer. Volkswagen even has a codename for the deal: “Irene.” Another possibility: the truck firm MAN, which VW owns 30% of, could buy up an Isuzu stake, allowing VW to craft a three-part truck alliance between MAN, Scania and Isuzu. VW’s board member in charge of commercial trucks, Jochem Heizmann, is reportedly in Tokyo pursuing the acquisition and has inspected Isuzu. Toyota’s six percent stake in Isuzu (not to mention VW’s distractions integrating its Porsche and Suzuki alliances) could be serious obstacles. As VW and Toyota battle for the position of world’s largest automaker, Isuzu could become a symbolic battleground for the outsized ambitions of these two industry titans.
UPDATE: VW tells Automotive News [sub] that an Isuzu takeover is “not on the agenda.” Does that mean they’re not looking into the possibility? At this point, it’s not clear.