Volkswagen Denies Ultimatum, Suzuki Denies Deal

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Over the weekend, Porsche complained loudly about a Monday ultimatum to accept Volkswagen’s merger proposal—or else. The answer from Wolfsburg: “Ultimatum? What ultimatum?”

“There is no ultimatum,” a VW spokesman told Reuters. He would not comment further.

Parallel worlds? Porsche Chairman Wolfgang Porsche and his deputy on the supervisory board, Uwe Hueck, said in a statement on Saturday they had been given an ultimatum by VW and Lower Saxony and that they would “not accept extortion.” Most likely explanation . . .

One man’s extortion is the other man’s suggestion; one company’s ultimatum is the other company’s hint to get on with it.

In the meantime, Porsche refused the plan outlined in the letter from Volkswagen. Reason cited: If Porsche would agree, they would have to immediately repay a €10.75b bank loan. Volkswagen says they never wrote such a letter. No wonder that the Emir of Qatar is getting “increasingly irritated” ( Automobilwoche [sub]), and demands a speedy resolution.

Further in the denial dept, Suzuki’s CEO said to the Chunichi Shimbun daily (via Reuters) that “so far there’s been absolutely no contact with Volkswagen.”

Last week, media reports emerged about a possible tie-up between VW and Suzuki. Lately, poor Suzuki has been “the victim of a lot of rumors of equity tie-ups and cooperation deals,” Suzuki-San complained. He could have made money out of it: the news pushed Suzuki’s shares up 5.5 percent on Friday. After the denial, the shares ended down 2.5 percent on Monday.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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