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Auto blogSun, 23 Feb 2014 09:02:00 EST
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.
Wed, 13 Mar 2013 10:44:00 EST
The 2014 Volkswagen Golf GTD has officially bowed at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Engineers managed to squeeze an additional 14 horsepower and 22 pound-feet of torque out of the familiar 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine, nudging total output to 184 hp and 280 lb-ft for 2014. The figures are good enough to earn the GTD the honor of being the most powerful diesel Golf in Volkswagen history. A start/stop system helps improve efficiency over the previous generation with the new model consuming 56 miles per gallon on the EU cycle. That's up from the 2013 model's 46 mpg. A six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment, though a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox is also available.
The GTD also offers buyers a few aesthetic tweaks to help separate the hatch from its less potent siblings. Those include a more aggressive front fascia, special badges and 17-inch alloy wheels. Expect to find the GTD in one of three exterior colors, including Tornado Red, Black and Pure White. Check out the quick press release below for more details.
Judges for the World Car of the Year Award have narrowed down the finalists to just four vehicles. Out of a total of 42 entries, only the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Porsche Boxster/Cayman, Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT-86 and Volkswagen Golf remain standing. For Volkswagen, this marks the second consecutive year the company has had an entry among the finalists, and the fourth time since 2009. In order to qualify, a vehicle must be on sale on two continents during the span of time between January 1, 2013 and May 30, 2013. A panel of 66 journalists from 23 countries then vote on the finalists.
Three vehicles have made the cut for the last round of voting on the 2013 World Performance Car as well, with the Cayman/Boxster and FR-S/BRZ/GT-86 running against the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. Meanwhile, the Renault Zoe, Tesla Model S and Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid are duking it out for the World Green Car Award. Finally, the World Car Design of the Year Award is up for grabs between the Aston Martin Vanquish, Jaguar F-Type, and the Mazda6. Check out the full press release below. Overall winners will be presented at the 2013 New York Auto Show.