By on August 22, 2019

Herbert Diess Jetta 2017

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess shot down rumors of a potential investment in electric car maker Tesla on Thursday, shortly after a German magazine claimed the VW boss was hot for the idea.

Manager Magazin, whose English translation is unknown, reported that the American automaker’s battery and software prowess had Diess thinking of a share buy, with an unnamed VW manager claiming the CEO “would go in right away if he could.”

Fake news, says Diess.

In a message sent to Reuters, Diess stated, “The speculation about buying a stake in Tesla made by Manager Magazin is without merit.”

The earlier report stated that VW was eager to forge an alliance with Tesla, adding that a number of obstacles stood in the way of such a pact, including the expected hesitancy of the automaker’s controlling Piech and Porsche families to fund such a venture. Stating that Diess saw a stock buy as a quick way to access Tesla’s tech braintrust, the report claimed the CEO viewed the idea of purchasing the entire American company — for the sum of $30 billion — as a nonstarter.

VW’s first purpose-built electric vehicle, the ID3, rolls out of Germany later this year, followed soon after by a bevy of electric models. In June, the automaker poured cold water on rumors that VW’s battery suppliers planned to sever ties with the company after VW invested $1 billion in a Swedish-owned battery plant in Germany.  VW’s battery partners for the rollout of ID-badged vehicles include LG Chem, Samsung, and SK Innovation for the European market and Contemporary Amperex Technology for Chinese products.

As reported by Automotive News Europe at the time, Thomas Ulbrich, VW brand management board member in charge of electric mobility, said the automaker had secured the necessary contracts for its battery supply until 2023.

“They probably hoped to maintain an oligopoly for a very long time,” Ulbirch said of the suppliers, not denying the initial report. “We have the contracts so no one is going to stand there and tell us ‘we are not going to supply you any more, help yourselves if you want to build them anyway,’ — that’s not possible.”

Future supply carries a question mark, however. Ulbrich added that, “You will likely see us permanently in negotiations for cells for the next three to five years.”

In April, reports emerged that Panasonic had frozen plans for further investment in Tesla’s battery-producing Gigafactory in Nevada. The anticipated cash from Tesla’s exclusive supplier would have allowed the factory to boost production by 50 percent.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

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19 Comments on “A Stake in Tesla? Forget It, Says Volkswagen Boss...”


  • avatar
    JoeBrick

    They just spent all of the cash they could raise on their new VW logo.
    VW should buy GE.
    GE is going down the tubes just at the time when they could have been selling millions of electric motors to the auto industry. STUPID GE.
    How ironic.

    • 0 avatar
      JoeBrick

      If VW does not buy GE, perhaps GM will. Or Ford. You heard it here first.
      And according to some posters here, I am a tin-foil hat wearing moron. I think I will change my name to “TheDumbGuy”…LOL

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        A clock stuck in a tinfoil hat can be right at least twice a day, you know…

        Hey, I agree with you that someone’s going to buy GE. Makes sense. But stuff like “the automakers are driving themselves into bankruptcy to ruin Trump” is straight out of the Tinfoil Hat Chronicles (assuming that was meant seriously, of course).

        • 0 avatar
          TheDumbGuy

          I don’t know who said that. If you thought that was what I said, I was NOT BEING CLEAR. I meant to say that these 181 companies COULD be trying to bring down Trump, but I never said that they actually wanted to make less profits or damage their bottom lines. On the contrary, they see a goldmine in doing business with China, and will be shifting their focus to China- as GM has been doing for several years in order to (they think) double and triple their profits by entering China’s market which is 4 or 5 times larger than the American market. They are signalling their approval of China’s communist/fascist system of communism/crony capitalism, and their eagerness to please the Chinese above everything else.No, they will not be driving themselves into bankruptcy to ruin Trump. Quite the opposite. But causing a recession to get rid of Trump is not below them, though. Refer to Bill Maher, et al.

          • 0 avatar
            CarnotCycle

            “Quite the opposite. But causing a recession to get rid of Trump is not below them, though. Refer to Bill Maher, et al.”

            Nah. Bill Maher might cheer for a recession to hurt Trump. But is Bill Maher willing to tank his own show’s ratings and social engagement metrics by 75% to hurt Trump? Recession for thee, not for me I think is the strategy of the world’s Bill Mahers. Never is their own self-interest in doubt. Ditto for these companies.

      • 0 avatar

        How about Tesla buying GE?

  • avatar
    TheDumbGuy

    Testing…testing…testing

    It worked !

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Anytime there’s a crisis like the WalMart lawsuit on solar panel fires, you can expect a bogus speculative upside rumor from the Musketeers. It’s as reliable as a sunrise tomorrow morning.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    if tesla doesnt start producing that high-margin semi tractor, theyre gonna be dead. ford/rivian are going to be making regular pickups, and all the germans are going to be making sport-luxury EVs.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Tesla will have a difficult time in the commercial truck market because of their poor quality and understaffed service department.
      Fleets aren’t nearly as “accomodating” as most Tesla car owners. I predict it will be like the WalMart solar panels where they wind up with big customers on the legal warpath.

      Back in the early 80s I interviewed with Flxible who made the buses that were falling apart in New York City. Their legal department had more employees than their engineering dept.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        You know, no matter how you feel about Tesla, Indi500fan is right. My friend has had a positive experience with service on his Tesla. They give him a loaner every time which they bring to him and put his on a flatbed. The problem is that flatbed doesn’t return with his car for a minimum of 3 weeks. That model isn’t viable in the commercial truck market.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “all the germans are going to be making sport-luxury EVs”

      Without their own Gigafactories, they won’t be making anything of consequence. Besides, which German mfrs are interested in losing money on such things?

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Do vultures give lost travelers dying of thirst a glass of ice water? No, no they don’t.

  • avatar
    TheDumbGuy-formerly JoeBrick

    I don’t really know much about Tesla, only what I read. I’ve only ever seen ONE Tesla car in real life. Yeah, I live in the sticks. But I see semi trucks all of the time. All the big semi-truck brands have a large dealer/service network, especially here in the sticks. Unless Tesla can furnish that, they will not be able to compete. I am sure that they are planning for adequate numbers of recharging locations, but service and repair shops are paramount to truckers. As is reliability of the trucks themselves. Good luck.

  • avatar
    MBella

    Someone will buy Tesla once the stock price falls enough. I don’t know what that price is, and I suspect it’s different for different potential suitors, but it’s going to be a tiny fraction of the current outlandish price.

  • avatar

    VW missed the opportunity to buy Tesla while it is cheap. They will will regret it soon when TSLA skyrockets.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    When Tesla announced that they were setting up a German factory a stone’s throw from Volkswagen, I took it as an indication that this wasn’t just speculation and VW was investing. Why else would Tesla make itself vulnerable to industrial espionage, a government that’s mama-bear protective of German auto companies, and high labor cost?

    Lots of reasons actually, including an ideal central geographic location, a government that’s supportive of EV transition, a famously meticulous assembly workforce, convenient access to the German robotics company they bought, and the world’s best automotive engineers. But ya know, aside from that!?

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