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Automotive News Europe
September 12, 2008 15:00 CET
HAMBURG (Reuters) -- Volkswagen group Chairman Ferdinand Piech broke ranks with Porsche by tacitly supporting VW workers in a boardroom showdown over Audi on Friday.
A source familiar with the situation said that Piech was not present during a VW supervisory board vote. His absence allowed 10 members from VW's organized labor to outvote the 9 remaining shareholder representatives, who include three Porsche executives, in a motion concerning VW's premium unit Audi.
The defeat for Porsche means that Porsche, which owns 31 percent of VW, will need approval from the VW supervisory board for any form of cooperation with Audi.
Audi is a potential competitor for Porsche since Audi also makes sporty cars such as the TT roadster and the R8 high-performance coupe that rival the Porsche Boxster or upper-end 911s.
Germany's Focus news magazine quoted Porsche Chairman and VW supervisory board member Wolfgang Porsche fiercely attacking his cousin in a rare show of open division between the Porsche and Piech clans.
"I am horrified by the behavior of the chairman," he told the magazine, referring to Piech.
Piech is a part owner of Porsche as a member of the Porsche-Piech family.