Victor and vanquished: Wolfgang Porsche, (left) Chairman of the company bearing his family name, meets with Ferdinand Piech, Chairman of Volkswagen, which is taking Porsche over.
The shotgun marriage of sports car manufacturer Porsche and the German automotive giant, Volkswagen, will be a “good thing, but not easy” to pull off, said Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, the chairman of the smaller company’s supervisory board, and grandson of the company’s founder, Ferdinand Porsche.
The 65-year-old executive put in a surprise appearance – along with Porsche’s entire board of directors, during a Monday evening preview of some of the products the various Volkswagen brands plan to launch during the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. The VW Group currently operates nine separate marques, and with the planned takeover of Porsche, that would grow to ten.
No Leveraged Financing Needed!
Porsche’s forced decision to put itself under the wing of the bigger manufacturer wrapped up one of the nastier – and odder – battles to shake the global automotive industry in recent years. In a wreckless “David versus Goliath” challenge, former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking began buying up shares of VW, hoping to put his company in control. But Wiedeking didn’t count on Volkswagen’s Chairman, Ferdinand Piech, who happens to be Wolfgang Porsche’s cousin.
In the end, Piech blocked the bid, leaving Porsche with a massive debt for the Volkswagen shares it acquired. Left with little alternative, Wiedeking resigned, and the sports car maker agreed to be the one taken over – though the deal is officially being described as a “merger.”
“I think it’s (going to be) a good thing, but not easy…to do,” said Wolfgang Porsche. During an exclusive interview with TheDetroitBureau.com, he emphasized that, “You have to do all the steps, a lot of meetings, a lot of financial things, and for that you will need time.”