A Stake in Tesla? Forget It, Says Volkswagen Boss

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.

shared from TTAC