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Karmann Japan Bought by Magna Steyr

Magna pursuing acquisitions of in spite of its own losses.

by on Feb.25, 2010

Mercedes-Benz CLK convertible by Karmann.

Magna Steyr, an operating unit of Magna International Inc., announced today that it acquired Karmann Japan Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of bankrupt Wilhelm Karmann GmbH, the convertible system and custom body assembly supplier.

Magna International concurrently reported that during 2009, its operating loss was $511 million, net loss was $493 million and diluted loss per share was $4.41, decreases of $839 million, $564 million and $5.03, respectively, each compared to 2008.

Magna posted sales of $17.4 billion for 2009, a decrease of 27% from 2008. This lower sales level was a result of decreases in North American and European production sales, complete vehicle assembly sales and tooling, engineering and other sales, partially offset by an increase in Rest of World production sales, according to Magna.

Magna Steyr is combining Karmann Japan with its current car top making operations there. It is now the leading convertible roof system supplier in Japan, a business that includes the Nissan 370Z Roadster and the Infiniti G Convertible. Magna Steyr Japan will be based in Shin-Yokohama, with production facilities in Yokohama and Tochigi.

Magna chief financial officer, Vince Galifi, said it is also close to buying Karmann’s roof operations in Germany and Poland, during an earnings conference call this morning.   (more…)

VW Moves Ahead on Porsche and Karmann Buys

Contracts prepared, final approval expected shortly.

by on Nov.20, 2009

Victor and vanquished.  Ferdinand Porsche, (left) Chairman of the company bearing his family name, meets with Ferdinand Piech, Chairman of Volkswagen.  The larger maker beat back a takeover bid by Porsche and will now "merge" with the sports car maker - on its terms - in 2011.

Wolfgang Porsche, (l) Chairman of the sports car maker, with Ferdinand Piech, Chairman of VW. The larger maker beat a takeover bid by Porsche and will own it all by 2011.

At a meeting earlier today in Germany, the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft approved the acquisition of land and machinery formerly belonging to the bankrupt Karmann holding company at the Osnabrück site. Karmann has a long history of building products based on VW products, the most famous of which is the Karmann Ghia sports car.

VW plans on establishing a new car-manufacturing subsidiary and will begin vehicle production in Osnabrück in 2011. VW says this will create more than 1,000 jobs by 2014. Some 200 technicians will be employed starting next year to set up the vehicle project.

In a statement VW said, “employees and former employees of Karmann have extensive experience in the production of small series models, and this experience will be accessed in line with requirements.”

Volkswagen will hold final negotiations with the shareholders of the Karmann and the bankruptcy administrator on the basis of today’s board decision.

The board also approved contracts for its takeover of Porsche in a series of steps. Porsche’s controlling shareholders, the Porsche and Piëch families need to sign the papers, but for all practical purposes the battle for the ownership is now over, with VW winning. VW said last month that it will pay €3.9 billion (~$5.8 billion) for a 49.9% stake in the Porsche by year end. It will takeover the rest of the famed sports car maker by 2011.

Ragtop Restorations From the Factory

Karmann USA expands into the Volkswagen aftermarket.

by on Apr.02, 2009

Convertible tops are now highly engineered parts of a vehicle.

Tops are now highly engineered parts of a vehicle.

Since the odd looking Volkswagen Beetle convertible appeared in 1949, more than 200,000 were sold in the United States. Sales of the sleeker Karmann Ghia convertible, starting in 1957, added another 50,000 ragtops to the sales tally. And since some of these classic German bugs are still in the hands of collectors, if not in daily driving service, a subsidiary of their original maker thinks there’s money to be made repairing, restoring or customizing them.

While these kinds of services have long been the province of aftermarket specialty shops and Volkswagen dealers, Karmann Classics in Plymouth, Michigan, will use the cachet of its long standing reputation as one of the largest convertible makers in the world to break into the business.

Click Here to Subscribe“Thinking small,” like one of VW’s early advertising campaigns, the company will solicit customers from a four-state region of the Midwest (Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio), as well as convertible owners in Ontario, Canada. During its launch phase, Karmann Classics will have the capacity to work on three to four vehicles at a time. The company plans to expand nationwide and eventually will provide restoration services for all convertibles. Karmann Classics is also working with local VW dealerships, to help them handle vehicle restoration.

“As the original manufacturer of the VW Karmann Ghia and VW Beetle convertible, Karmann is uniquely positioned to rebuild convertible roof systems for these vehicles,” says Erik Roeren, president and CEO of Karmann USA. “We believe there will be considerable demand for Karmann Classics’ services.”  (more…)