The International Chamber of Commerce has ruled that Volkswagen should sell its current 19.9% stake in the Japanese car maker, bringing to a close a legal dispute dating back to 2011 and the two firms’ partnership, which first began in 2009.
Originally it was thought that Volkswagen would use the partnership to launch a new Up-based microcar for the Asian market. The brief for the project, according to Volkswagen, was “to cooperate on the joint development of innovative and eco-friendly budget cars and on expanding their presence in dynamic emerging automotive markets”.
As part of the legal dispute, Suzuki alleged that Volkswagen tried to suppress its interests by representing it as a subsidiary of the VolkswagenGroup, while VW was said to have been angered when Suzuki signed a deal with Fiat for the supply of diesel engines.
When asked whether his company would consider working with Volkswagen again, Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki said: “You will not remarry someone you have divorced.
“It used to feel as if a small bone were stuck in my throat. I feel so refreshed now.”
Suzuki will now attempt to buy back its shares from Volkswagen, which analysts have told Reuters could be worth about £2.5 billion.
In a statement, Volkswagen said it “welcomes the clarity” given by the ruling.
Despite the formal dissolution of its partnership with Suzuki, Volkswagen is moving ahead with plans to launch its own budget brand for the Asian market.
The first vehicles to launch under the new brand, which is as yet un-named, will be seen in 2018. The initial line-up will include an SUV, a hatchback and a saloon. All three will be sold in China with starting prices ranging from €8-11,000 (£5670-£7800).
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