Volkswagen V.v. Porsche: T.K.O.?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

In the left corner: One of the world’s top heavyweights. European Champion. Number two in the world league. In the right corner: A flyweight contender. Ranks at the bottom of the list. The guy in the right corner wants to knock out the one in the left. He surprised him, scored some hits. Now the big guy on the left is starting to get going.

The guy on the left just won a very rare trophy: Volkswagen’s chief financial officer Hans Dieter Poetsch said to Reuters that Volkswagen will have a “positive result” in the second quarter. As for 2009, Poetsch added that VW is also on track to having a “positive result for the full year.” A car maker that turns a profit?

With most of the world’s auto industry seeing red, this is an unbelievable feat.

VW gains from a strong domestic market. In May, VW gained 60.2 percent in Germany. In all of Europe, VW gained 5.3 percent and increased its market share to an unassailable 21.7 percent. Next in line is PSA with just 13.3 percent, and they are losing. Volkswagen is strong in strong countries like China and Brazil.

Their dismal performance in the USA shields VW from the fallout: What you don’t have you cannot lose. Net liquidity in the first quarter was more than 10 billion Euros. VW is doing so well that they even volunteered to help the flyweight contender in the right corner to get back on his feet: If asked, VW would consider giving Porsche a loan, Poetsch hinted.

The guy in the right corner needs all the help he can get. German government bank KfW denied the application for a €1.75 billion loan, for the time being, Das Autohaus reports. The Sheikh of Qatar is rumored to want a stake of Porsche. But that stake is getting bigger. Instead of 25 percent, he now wants 29.5 percent.

Daimler is rumored to be sniffing around Zuffenhausen for a share of Porsche. Das Autohaus says that members of the Porsche supervisory board have their doubts about Daimler’s sincerity. After all, Daimler has its own problems. Porsche sits on a €9 billion debt.

Enter the heavyweight guy in the left corner. “If we give a loan, enough collateral needs to be there,” said Poetsch. The problem is that a lot of juicy collateral is already spoken for. The Porsche family had to put their crown jewels in hock. So what else is there? The loan offer sounds like a takeover attempt by another name.

Speaking of names, Bernd Osterloh, chief of the Volkswagen workers’ council, just called Wiedeking and Härter of Porsche “locusts.” Nothing a little Raid won’t solve.

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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  • Rcolayco Rcolayco on Jun 22, 2009

    bertel schmitt: Thanks for correcting my erroneous attribution of the China & Brazil initiatives to Piech. Even as I wrote my comment, I had a sense that such was the case. However, I felt that a sort of "poetic license" might be forgiven if only because Piech does in a way deserve credit for successful execution on his predecessors' initiatives. I must confess that recent news that the Weissach development facility is among the hardest hit in the company's cost-reduction program, along with my general discomfort about Wiedeking's recent conduct of the business, has cooled me off quite a bit on further purchases of Porsches. After having driven my friend's Audi R8, I've decided the thing to replace my 996 Turbo will be the V10 R8, which looks to be at least as fast as the current Turbo but with the inherent superiority arising from its mid-engine configuration. Not to mention overall ride refinement.

  • Rcolayco Rcolayco on Jun 22, 2009

    john horner: Right you are. Business writers & motoring journalists are alike in at least one thing -- they both sometimes write utter nonsense about subjects that they're supposed to know well.

  • Rando [h2]Coincidentally, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is more than $41k as well -.-[/h2]
  • Ajla "Gee, wonder why car (as well as home) insurance rates are much higher in places like Florida..." Severe weather is on the list but even if a benevolent genie reverted the climate to circa 1724 I think FL would still have high cost. Our home insurance rates have increased 102% since 2021 and I don't think weather models account for that much of a change in that period. Florida's insurance assignment of benefit regulation meant that it had ~80% of the country's of the insurance lawsuits on ~12% of the nation's claims and litigated claims can be expensive to insurance companies. The state altered some regulations and is having some success on getting more companies back, even with the severe weather risks, through relatively bipartisan efforts. With car insurance just beyond the basic "Florida" stuff, the population increase of the past few years is overwhelming the roads. But, I think the biggest thing is we have very low mandated car insurance levels. Only $10K personal injury and $10K property damage. No injury liability needed. And 20% of the state has no insurance. So people that actually want insurance pay out the nose. Like I commented above my under/uninsured coverage alone is 2.5x my comprehensive & collision.
  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.