Does Volkswagen own Mercedes? Who do Volkswagen own? Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz are two of the most popular car brands in the world. They both have a long history of producing high-quality vehicles that are loved by car enthusiasts and everyday drivers alike. However, there has been some confusion and speculation about whether Volkswagen owns Mercedes-Benz.
Volkswagen does not own Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz is a part of the Daimler AG group, which is a separate entity from Volkswagen. Although both companies are based in Germany and have a strong presence in the automotive industry, they are not affiliated with each other. It is not uncommon for people to confuse the ownership of different car brands, especially when they share similarities in their designs or manufacturing processes.
However, it is important to understand the differences between each company and their respective ownership structures.
In this article, we will explore the ownership of both Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, as well as provide a brief history of each company and its contributions to the automotive industry.
Does Volkswagen own Mercedes?
Volkswagen AG is an automotive giant that has far reaching tentacles across the globe. The German automaker has a full stable of brands, some of which are household names, others are less known. Many readers might be hard-pressed to name all of them.
Unsurprisingly, several have German roots, starting with the namesake Volkswagen brand sold in huge volumes around the world, along with the luxury Audi brand and iconic Porsche. But Volkswagen has owned Spanish brand SEAT since 1990 and the Czech brand Škoda since 2000. Britain’s Bentley and Italy’s Lamborghini were added to the company’s portfolio in 1998, along with the then-dormant French brand, Bugatti.
In 2019, Volkswagen experimented with its first sub-brand: JETTA, complete with its own dealer network, but only in China.
The Volkswagen Group is headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany, but many of its brands center their operations elsewhere, while reporting back to the mother ship. Volkswagen Group is most known for making passenger vehicles, but it also owns heavy truck brands MAN and Scania, the latter once part of the company that also made Saab cars, as well as Ducati motorcycles, which is owned by Audi via Lamborghini.
Here’s a snapshot of the car brands currently under the Volkswagen Group umbrella.
Who do Volkswagen own?
One of the most interesting things about the automotive industry is that pretty much every brand is connected in one way or another. It’s like six degrees of separation but for corporations instead.
A lot of car manufacturers are very old, and therefore have had their fair share of ups and downs and many have been owned and sold by a variety of different other car manufacturers and groups so two seemingly unrelated car manufacturers could actually be very much related.
One of the biggest players in the automotive industry is the Volkswagen Group. In 2017, it was the world’s second-largest automaker (Toyota was 1st) and has the largest market share in Europe.
So, who do Volkswagen own?
In this article, we’re going to look at the history of Volkswagen, who they own and how they acquired the car manufacturers.
Volkswagen vs. BMW; When did Volkswagen buy Bentley?
By this point Volkswagen are essentially collecting brands. However, while the others have been pretty straightforward, they were about to go head to head with another German car giant; BMW.
In 1997, Vickers (the owner of Bentley) announced it was to sell Rolls-Royce Motors. The logical choice for a buyer was BMW because they supplied engines and other components for both Bentley and Rolls-Royce. And Vickers and BMW also built aircraft engines. BMW offered £340m but Volkswagen outbid them when they offered £430m. But this didn’t mean that Volkswagen owned everything. Instead, they simply bought the vehicle designs, model nameplates, production and administrative facilities as well as the Spirit of Ecstasy and Rolls-Royce grille shape trademarks. What they didn’t have access to was the use of the Rolls-Royce name or logo. They were owned by Rolls-Royce Holdings.
In 1998, BMW started supplying components for a new range of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars. BMW paid Rolls-Royce £40m to licence the Rolls-Royce name and logo.
After a lengthy battle and negotiation process, it was agreed that BMW would continue to supply engines and components and Volkswagen would have access to the rights of the names and logos from the years 1998 to 2002
From January 1st 2003, Volkswagen would be the sole provider of cars with the Bentley marque and BMW, Rolls-Royce.
Volkswagen spent £500m to modernise the Bentley Crewe factory and increase production capacity. It is reported that Volkswagen invested nearly $2billion in Bentley and its revival.
In 2002, Bentley presented Queen Elizabeth II with an official State Limousine to celebrate her Golden Jubilee.
When did Volkswagen buy Lamborghini?
Don’t let it be said that Volkswagen don’t have great taste in manufacturers. Lamborghini were owned by holding company MegaTech, owned by Indonesian conglomerate SEDTCO pty. However, the Asian financial crisis in 1998 meant that Lamborghini was set for a change in ownership.
Ferdinand Piech, the new chairman of Volkswagen, purchased Lamborghini in September 1998 for around $110million. It was restructured as a holding company, Lamborghini Holding S.p.A with the Audi president as its chairman. It is under Volkswagen that Lamborghini found stability.
When did Volkswagen buy Bugatti?
Volkswagen purchased rights to produce cars under the Bugatti marque in June 1998 and in 2000, Volkswagen officially incorporated Bugatti Automobiles. The company purchased Ettore Bugatti’s former guest house in Dorlisheim and used it as the company’s headquarters.
Ferdinand Piech announced the Bugatti Veyron at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show, promising it to be the fastest, most powerful and most expensive car in history.
When did Volkswagen buy Porsche?
Volkswagen bought a 49.9% stake in Porsche AG in December 2009. This was the first step of the ‘integrated automotive group’ with Porsche.
A merger was scheduled to take place in 2011. However, it was announced that the merger could not happen due to unquantifiable legal risks. This included a criminal probe into the holding’s former management team. This didn’t stop Volkswagen for too long, and in 2012 they announced they would wrap up the remaining half of Porsche shares for 4.46 billion euros to avoid paying taxes of up to 1.5 billion euros if the wrap would have happened after 31st July 2014.
In August 2012, Volkswagen purchased the remaining stake in Porsche, becoming its parent company.
When did Volkswagen buy Suzuki?
Not satisfied with the plethora of marques it already owns, Volkswagen purchased 19.9% of Suzuki Motor Corporation’s shares in January 2010. However, Suzuki filed a lawsuit at in arbitration court in London requesting that Volkswagen return that stake.
They also paid $3.8billion to complete a stock buy-back from Volkswagen…hours before the news broke out regarding the emissions scandal.
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