Suzuki seeks to completely dissolve shaky relationship with Volkswagen

Suzuki, which is nearly 20 percent owned by Volkswagen, considers its largest investor a 'ball and chain,' while Volkswagen is accusing Suzuki of breaching its contract.

Suzuki has announced their desire to end their tumultuous two-year relationship with Volkswagen, which bought a nearly 20 percent stake in Suzuki, one of Japan's smallest automakers, back in December of 2009. In return, Suzuki said it would sell back its 1.5 percent stake in Volkswagen, thus indicating Suzuki wants to be 100 percent independent of one of the world's largest automakers. Suzuki corporate chairman Osamu Suzuki said today that the severance shoulld be like a divorce and that each one should "say goodbye with a smile" rather than harbor feelings of animosity.

The beginning of the press conference didn't begin so diplomatically, however, as Osamu Suzuki called VW a "ball and chain" and said that they were not acting like mature adults. Executive VP Yasuhito Harayama said that Volkswagen's counter-statement that Suzuki had violated their contract was akin to a "declaration of war," and that it is "impossible to maintain healthy relations under such conditions." Volkswagen is referring to Suzuki's decision to purchase diesel engines fron Fiat as its breach of contract, whereas Harayama disputed that the Fiat engine sourcing had been in effect long before Volkswagen came along, and since Volkswagen couldn't supply a similar engine, that there was no conflict of interest.

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