Volkswagen Isn't Selling Any Brands Just Yet, But It's Still Their 'Plan B'

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Rival automakers salivating at the thought of snapping up a castoff from Volkswagen’s brand portfolio will have to sit and wait.

Amid grim fourth-quarter financial data and ongoing expenses linked to the diesel emissions scandal, the company is standing by its assets, but admits they might have to jettison some if unexpected expenses crop up.

After delaying the release of a 2015 financial report for months, Volkswagen said it posted a 127 million euro loss ($144 million) in the last three months of the year. Compare that to a 780 million euro ($885 million) profit in the same period a year earlier.

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller told reporters at a Wolfsburg press conference that the company can “hardly avoid saying that the current situation demands everything of us, in every respect — including financially.”

Despite setting aside billions last week to cover scandal-related costs, about half of which will go to cover the U.S. buyback program, the company’s annual report states that it could have to shed assets to cover future costs.

“The funding needed to cover the risks may lead to assets having to be sold due to the situation and equivalent proceeds for them not being achieved as a result,” the company said in today’s report.

The company’s chief financial officer, Frank Witter, downplayed the report after its release, stating, “We believe in our multi-brand group, so we don’t have brand or unit sales on the agenda at all.”

The future contains uncertainties, he then implied, leaving the door open to potential asset sales if Volkswagen finds itself against the financial ropes.

Among other makes, Volkswagen Group owns the prestige brands Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, and Ducati.

[Image: Bentley Motors] [Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters]

Steph Willems
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  • Tstag Tstag on Apr 28, 2016

    I suspect possible bidders for Bentley would include Daimler and Jaguar Land Rover. For Daimler it solves an issue they've had in trying to replace the Maybach with something people actually want. For JLR it would crown their model range nicely and wouldn't really compete with anything else they make. And if BMW ever felt like selling Mini I suspect JLR would also be in the queue for that as it would then mean they have a complete range of premium models. Chinese may also go for Bentley but while it might be a nice Jewel it's probably the wrong type of buy for their car industry right now. As for Bugatti then I'd rule in BMW and Daimler although it needs to be repositioned to compete with Ferrari to give it some volume

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    • W205LVR W205LVR on Apr 29, 2016

      A Daimler and Volkswage merger dosent sound like a bad idea as long as they don't charge Mercedes prices for parts and labor on VW's

  • Sirwired Sirwired on Apr 28, 2016

    I don't see VW selling Audi (too tightly tied into VW; lots of engine/chassis/parts sharing going on... Audi uses the MQB chassis, and VW uses a lot of Audi-developed engines. A separation would be a mess trying to work out how much for each new company to charge the other for things.) I imagine selling VW Truck would have much the same problem. (At least in regards to powertrains.) But Porsche? Other than the Touraeg/Cayenne, it'd be clean split, and collect a lot of money. But since they'd never sell, they'd have to dump the niche luxury brands, but I'm not sure they would get enough for them. Skoda and SEAT... do those brands even HAVE any unique vehicles, or are they all VW rebadges?

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    • RobertRyan RobertRyan on Apr 29, 2016

      @DenverMike It think in the long run abandoning the US market makes a lot of sense BUT, I have heard rumours ( from several sources)during Dieselgate, that VW is pushing Scania and MAN to jointly make a bid for Navistar. If this was a chess game, that would be very unusual opening move

  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I'm at that the inflection point of do I continue to putting money in a 12 yr old SUV entering a heavy maintenance cycle or start shopping.I have noticed comparable new SUVs with $2.5k knocked off the sticker price, but still with the shenanigans of $300 for nitrogen in the tires. However, I have noticed the same 2 yr old SUV which are only $4.5K less than the original sticker price. Usually the used cars price should be 35% to 40% less. This tells me there's a stronger market for used as opposed to new. Part of this is to handle the monthly note. Considering installments of 72 months, you'll never pay the beast off. Just wait till the end of the model year which is just two months away, and I think the comparable new SUV will come with larger markdowns. May not be the color you want, but there are deals to be made. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Lou_BC Ironic, the Honda Ridgeline, a truck that every truck guy loves to hate is in 6th place.
  • 28-Cars-Later I keep forgetting I own it, but the space look on the ext cab reminds me of my 'Yota pickup of the same model year. I'm pretty sure there is some vintage of Hilux which features the same looking ext cab window (maybe '88?) its a shame these things are mostly gone and when available are $1,000,000,000 [INSERT CURRENT CURRENCY].
  • Sayahh Imagine if Ford had Toyota design and build a Mustang engine. It will last over 300k miles! (Skip turbo and make it naturally aspirated.) Maybe Yamaha will help tune it...