Suzuki and Volkswagen are finding out that breaking up is hard to do, as the feud between the two escalates. Suzuki feels VW is tarnishing its reputation, and giving its ex-partner until September 30 to take back claims that Suzuki had violated the terms of their contract.
In a letter sent to VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, Suzuki’s Chief Officer, Osamu Suzuki, demanded the German company publicly retract the claim Suzuki had violated their contract by sourcing engines from Fiat. Suzuki feels such claims are tarnishing its reputation, but according to report by Reuters, VW said it didn’t understand why Suzuki felt that way.
“This is an internal letter sent between partners, and it should be handled as such. Such a blatant action is hardly helpful in the current situation,” VW said.
The two had been headed toward splitsville for quite some time, after Suzuki claimed the supposed equal partnership felt more like “a ball and chain,” and rumors suggested Fiat had come in between them by working on a diesel engine deal with Suzuki. Being there are always two sides to a story, Suzuki said in January it had told VW in writing that it decided not to use the German’s diesel engines after all.
The whole point behind the partnership was to grant Suzuki access to future Volkswagen hybrid and electric car technologies, while Suzuki was supposed to net VW a larger presence in India. But Volkswagen is holding its head up high, and Winterkorn said last week that Suzuki was only “one option,” and that it could take on the Indian market without its estranged Japanese partner.
Suzuki also tried to lighten things by offering to buy back at market prices the shares that VW owns, but VW said it isn’t interested.