Suzuki Sues – In A Year

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Attempts to ratchet-down the rhetoric in the Suzuki/Volkswagen row have failed. Suzuki launched a heavy missile in the direction of Wolfsburg. Suzuki will take the case to court, The Nikkei [sub] heard before a scheduled press conference in Tokyo. But fear not, Volkswagen gets a whole year to make up its mind.

At the press conference, Suzuki said it wants to buy back the 19.9 percent of its shares which are held by Volkswagen, and it wants to do so in November 2012. If Volkswagen disagrees, then Suzuki will go to arbitration. Volkswagen is unimpressed and said it will keep the shares.

“It remains the same: We are holding on to our shares,” a Volkswagen spokesman told The Nikkei. According to Reuters, Volkswagen is “extremely disappointed that Suzuki Motor Corp. demanded mediation after rejecting VW’s offers to rescue a floundering alliance.”

“There is no legal foundation whatsoever obliging us to surrender our shares,” Volkswagen said in a statement.

The court will be the court of arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, German media says. Apparently, this is what the contract between Suzuki and Volkswagen specifies.

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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  • Fusion Fusion on Nov 18, 2011

    I think one of the main factors on how this will end is the development of the stock prices in the coming year. Right now, VW's stocks are up about 50% compared to December 2009, while Suzukus are down about 50% compared to the same time. I don't have historical numbers for January 2010 (according to Wikipedia, thats when the stock's were bought), but the overall tendency should be the same... As long as that situation stays like that, VW will hardly agree to selling their Suzuki stock (at Market prices as Suzuki offered back in September) and buying back any of their own. I can see, why Suzuki seems so keen on this though... ;)

  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Nov 18, 2011

    Who knows what the future will bring. Maybe one day we will all wake up in a parallel universe where Suzuki is called Fiat and VW is called GM and the latter will have to pay the former billions to take back it's own stock.

    • Carbiz Carbiz on Nov 18, 2011

      I was thinking the same thing: GM had to fork over $2 Billion at a time when it could really have used $2 BILLION to weather a very nasty storm that was just up ahead, but Fiat got their blood money anyway. Seems like a lot of hissy fits going on in corporate head offices these days.