Drive Type: Manual
Model: Beetle - Classic
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Black
Clarklake, Michigan, United States
With the introduction of the newest Volkswagen Golf Variant, we get an early look at what will most likely be the next-generation Jetta SportWagen here in the US. To further wet our appetities, VW is now teasing something a little sportier with the Concept R-Line. Looking the part of a GTI wagon (or a stretched Golf R), the Golf Variant Concept R-Line has a production-ready appearance that has us hoping we'll see this sporty wagon sooner rather than later.
The R-Line starts off with a new fascia that isn't quite as aggressive as the recently introduced GTI, but it gives the new styling some extra punch. Below the fascia is a lower splitter that visually carries back into the rocker panel extensions, and the rear of the car gets some bright exhaust tips and a rear diffuser. The Lapis Blue Metallic paint job probably does enough on its own to add a sporty flair to the Golf wagon, and it's all finished off with 18-inch split-spoke wheels. Inside, the Concept R-Line shows off sport seats wrapped in carbon leather featuring blue nappa inserts in the middle.
Rightfully so, VW brought the Concept R-Line to Geneva with its TDI and 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. A sporty, all-wheel-drive diesel wagon? Yes, please. Scroll down for the full press blast with all the details.
Volkswagen owns or has controlling interests in three commercial truck operations: besides its own, VW began buying shares in Sweden's Scania in 2000 and now controls 89.2 percent of its shares and 62.6 percent of its capital, then bought into Germany's Man in 2006 - in order to prevent Man from trying to take over Scania - and now owns 75 percent of it. The car company has managed to work out 200 million euros in savings, but believes it can unlock a total of 650 million euros in savings if it takes outright control of Scania and can spread more common parts among the three divisions.
It has proposed a 6.7-billion-euro ($9.2 billion) buyout, but according to a Bloomberg report, Scania's minority investors don't appear inclined to the deal. Although effectively controlled by VW, Scania is an independently-listed Swedish company, and a profitable one at that: in the January-September 2013 period its operating profit was 9.4 percent compared to Man's 0.4 percent. Some of the other shareholders believe that Scania is better off on its own and will not approve the deal, some have asked an auditor to look into the potential conflict of interest between VW and Man, while some are willing to examine the deal and "make an evaluation based on what a long-term owner finds is good," which might not be just "the stock market price plus a few percent." The buyout will only be official assuming VW can reach the 90-percent share threshold that Swedish law mandates for a squeeze-out.
Many of the arguments against boil down to investors believing that Scania's Swedishness and unique offerings are what keep it profitable, and ownership by the German car company will kill that. (Have we heard that somewhere before?) If Volkswagen can buy that additional 0.8-percent share in Scania, perhaps its buyout wrangling with Man will give it an idea of what it's in for: "dozens" of minority investors in the German truckmaker have filed cases against VW, seeking higher prices for their shares. It is likely only to delay the inevitable, though. If VW is really going to compete with Daimler and Volvo in the truck market, it has to get the size, clout and savings to do so.
Back in 2008, Porsche got the bright idea that it could take over Volkswagen in the midst of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression. Ignoring that this was a catastrophic move for the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer that that eventually resulted in it nearly going bankrupt and eventually being taken over by the same company it sought to control, the aftermath has left Porsche Chairman Wolfgang Porsche and board member Ferdinand Piëch in the crosshairs of seven hedge funds that lost out during the takeover and are now seeking €1.8 billion - $2.43 billion US - in damages from the two execs, according to the BBC.
See, investors bet on Volkswagen's share price going down, partially because Porsche said it wasn't going to attempt a takeover. But Porsche was attempting to take over VW, having bought up nearly 75-percent of VW's publicly traded shares. When word broke that Porsche owned nearly three-quarters of VW (which indicated an imminent takeover attempt), rather than go down like the hedge funds bet it would, VW's share price skyrocketed to over 1,000 euros per share, according to Reuters.
Naturally, when you bet that a company's share price is going to drop and it in turn (temporarily) becomes the world's most valuable company, you lose a lot of money, unless you're able to buy up shares before prices jump too much. This led to a squeeze on the stock, which the hedge funds accuse Porsche and Piëch (who are both members of the Porsche family and supervisory board) of organizing.