Volkswagen to Sell Up to 20 Percent Of All Assets
But contrary to previous rumors, Ducati is not for sale.
Between a $15 billion settlement, another $10 billion of buy-backs, $2 billion to promote electric vehicles, and numerous other Dieselgate-related expenses, Volkswagen could use an influx of cash right about now. In order to pick up just that, according to Automotive News, VW may go about selling off up to 20 percent of the company's assets. CEO Matthias Mueller reportedly told The Wall Street Journal that a new team was working to sell businesses no longer considered critical.
Interestingly, although Ducati was reported to be on the chopping block earlier this year, Volkswagen has since reversed that position. It does seem like the Italian motorcycle manufacturer would be an obvious business to sell that's not critical to VW's primary interest—cars. But labor leaders at VW, who hold half of the seats on the board of directors, are opposed to selling Ducati at any price, despite alleged interest from Harley-Davidson and a reported worth of approximately $1.67 billion. Though Mueller told The Wall Street Journal, "We’re not going to let anyone tell us which decision to make," it will clearly take some time to come to an agreement regarding Ducati's future.
Mueller was also quick to squash rumors of a merger with Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles. Though FCA seeks a merger with practically any company that will take the and has mentioned the possibility of VW as one of those ideal suitors, FCA SEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed in June that there were no merger talks with anyone at the moment.
Of course, VW is in such a transitional period right now that ridding itself of 20 percent of its assets may not be a bad thing. As it turns away from diesel power in favor of electric cars, it will need to build new production lines for very different types of car. Additionally, VW shifting models from the Golf to the Atlas onto the same MQB platform may allow some simplification in the construction process. So the move to sell many of its assets should not be taken as cause for alarm for VW's future. It's more likely a natural part of the company's transition.