At the end of 2009 Volkswagen took a 20-percent stake in Japanese automaker Suzuki, with the agreement to tap Suzuki’s small car expertise in India and other emerging markets and to share powertrain equipment. Now, just over a year later, Suzuki is starting to question whether or not the VW tie up is worth it.
According to a new report on Automotive News, Suzuki executive vice president Yasuhito Harayama says the company is in conversations with VW on “what the two companies agreed upon. [The two companies] can’t cooperate unless we are equal partners.” Sounds like basic marriage counseling to us.
Suzuki has been unreceptive to creating any joint models with the German juggernaut, and appears interested only in VW’s advanced technology, such as its dual-clutch gearbox and alternative powertrains. VW, on the other hand, was primarily looking for access to Maruti Suzuki, which produces more than half of the vehicles sold in the Indian market. Speaking at Volkswagen’s annual shareholder meeting, CEO Martin Winterkorn announced that while no concrete products had been made yet from the venture, there was still much opportunity to come.
Suzuki also has a partnership with Fiat, providing diesel powertrains for the Japanese company’s SX4 compact. Harayama has said that Suzuki is willing to find other ventures similar to the Fiat one if it finds no benefit from the one with VW.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a domestic disturbance from within the Suzuki-VW tie up: in March of this year, we reported on growing concerns that the liaison was continuing to stall. Both then and now, differences in corporate culture have been blamed for putting the skids on any kind of development between the two companies.
With Suzuki’s expertise with kei and subcompact cars and Volkswagen planning its Up! microcar, there could be some future sharing between the most diminutive models. Also possible could be VW’s venerable diesel powertrains finding their ways under the hoods of future Suzuki products. What would you like to see out of this venture? More VWs on the road in India? Hybrid and diesel Suzukis? Let us know in the comments section.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)