By on October 1, 2020

Pope Lamborghini

More evidence has surfaced that Volkswagen Group may be on the cusp of relieving itself of some of its less-profitable subsidiaries. Following news of a November board meeting that would help decide the fate of numerous ultra-premium brands, rumor has it that VW is currently working out ways to give Lamborghini more autonomy and open the door for supply deals that could foreshadow it being listed on the stock market.

Additionally, the automaker’s supervisory board has already reportedly met to discuss the future of Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and its Ducati motorcycle arm. Discussions were said to include how to electrify the more sporting nameplates via industrial partnerships and procuring investment dollars. Some of these deals are already in the early stages, according to Reuters, with a possible IPO for the Italian supercar brand alleged to be moving forward at the time of this writing.

Take this with a grain of salt, however. The outlet failed to name its insider sources and Volkswagen refused to comment on the manner. While we’re inclined to believe the reporting, deals like this require plenty of planning and sometimes take ages to finalize as executives make up their minds. It could be a while before we get hard evidence or confirmation from VW  even if today’s news seems to suggest the opposite.

“Volkswagen is in the process of carving out Lamborghini, and to organize future supply and technology transfer deals,” one of the sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

It was then speculated that Lamborghini (currently a division of Audi) could be partially listed, with VW holding on to the lions share of stock to maintain control. But there has been “no formal decision to divest Lamborghini,” according to a secondary source, and no timetable for any of the arrangements suggested during the meeting.

“This is a first step which gives VW the option to list the unit further down the line,” they said.

From Reuters:

Volkswagen is reviewing what role its high-performance brands Lamborghini, Bugatti and Ducati will play within the multi-brand carmaker as part of broader quest for more economies of scale, senior executives told Reuters.

A global clampdown on combustion-engined vehicles has forced automakers to accelerate development of low-emission technology for mainstream models, leaving Volkswagen managers struggling to find resources to electrify low-volume sportscar models.

That will undoubtedly be touched upon again in November and Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess has suggested big changes will be announced before year’s end. Meanwhile, we’ve heard talk that Croatian supercar firm Rimac Automobili may already be in the process of scooping up Bugatti for itself with VW’s blessing.

[Image: Lamborghini]


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6 Comments on “Report: Volkswagen to Begin Distancing From Lamborghini...”

  • avatar

    Manufacture’s go thru these buying spree and then the eventual sell off. Then again his allows some new player probably from China to step and gain instant karma. Ether that or some sheik get a new play thing.

  • avatar

    If VW sell Bentley I wonder who’d buy it? It could go Chinese e.g Geeley, but maybe Mercedes or JLR would be tempted? Surely Bentley would be a great for for either company

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      JLR couldn’t afford to buy Bentley; they themselves are the troubled and not-always-profitable brand in need of ownership themselves. That said, Tata (their parent company) could possibly do so. It might result in more authentic British engineering for the cars. That said, JLR is looking at using more German resources. There’s rumor that they will sunset their AJV8 (which was built in a Ford facility) and begin sourcing V8s from BMW. I think that’s a mistake, as the current N63 V8 and its derivatives are trash. Beside which, if they did buy Bentley *and* began sourcing BMW V8s, those BMW V8s would end up in some Bentley products…which just seems wrong. Then again, it isn’t unprecedented. The early Arnage had a twin-turbo BMW engine, before Bentley resurrected the heritage 6.75-liter Bentley/Rolls-Royce V8, due to strife between BMW and Volkswagen in the late nineties.

      Mercedes-Benz…possibly, although I’m not sure how that would work with their competing Mercedes-Maybach brand. Possibly, they wound sunset Mercedes-Maybach, as Bentley is far more equitable, if you must exist in that space via just *one* beans.

      I could also see Geely, which currently owns Volvo, attempting it. Or, in a weird twist, Stellantis (the upcoming, unholy merger between FCA and France’s PSA Groupe).

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Don’t be too quick to assume that China, Inc. will buy spun off car companies. They’re smart investors, and won’t be buying some money-losing dog.

    Geely saw potential in Volvo, for instance, but Saab never got traction with anybody. I’m surprised that Faraday Future still exists in any form, and that should serve as a business lesson for starry-eyed investors.

    VW wouldn’t be spinning off Lamborghini, Bugatti, or Bentley if they were printing money like Jeep, for instance.

  • avatar

    Bugatti was always a money losing vanity project, so it’s eventual demise/sale is predictable, Why VW needs a motorcycle brand was always a mystery, and deserves to be sold.

    With respect to Lamborghini, VW is probably just looking at the market cap of Ferrari and sees the ability to unlock “shareholder value”, as they say in the investment bakers pitch book.

    Bentley should be kept to highlight the electric car prowess of VW – it’s hard to see a segment better suited to electrify.

  • avatar

    These were all Piëch’s vanity projects, so it would make sense to spin them off.
    I’m surprised it took this long, but I guess the dieselgate and its related mess required all of VW’s attention.

    I can see them keeping Bentley if only to have something to compete with the Rolls-Royce and the Mercedes-Maybach. I’m not sure VW’s ego will allow Munich and Stuttgart to have all the nice cars.

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