That interview with Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is a treasure-trove of information. It also gives an insight into Volkswagen’s strategy with rambunctious Suzuki: It will be a Sitzkrieg. Volkswagen seems to be intent on waiting things out until Osamu Suzuki passes away.
Winterkorn will be at the Tokyo Motor Show. Someone with a perverse bent made Volkswagen (booths EP06 through EP10) close neighbors of Suzuki (EP12). Only Mitsubishi (EP11) keeps the brawling couple at distance. But Winterkorn doesn’t have Osamu Suzuki on his dance card:
“A meeting is not planned. Should we run into each other, then we can talk about everything. There is one exception: Our 19.9 percent share is not for sale.”
Asked how Winterkorn intends to settle the matter, he answers:
“We have a lot of patience. Our targets are long-term. If the current management team at Suzuki doesn’t want to work with us, then maybe the next generation may want to.”
We had picked-up rumors long ago that Volkswagen may be counting on the – as the saying goes in Wolfsburg – “biological solution”. Suzuki’s Chairman Osamu Suzuki is 81, a full seven years older than Ferdinand Piech.
That’s a risky bet. Japanese tend to live a long life. And in any case, the instigator behind the row is said to be Suzuki Executive Vice President Yasuhito Harayama. At age 55, Harayama doesn’t look like an immediate candidate for the biological solution. The 64 year old Winterkorn should know that.