The on-going tussle between Suzuki and Volkswagen has finally come to an end, it would seem. After close to four years since the Japanese manufacturer filed for a divorce from Volkswagen, the International Court of Arbitration has stated that Volkswagen must now liquidate all of its remaining shares in Suzuki.
According to Automotive News, said decision was announced by Suzuki in a filing to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, only a day after the Japanese carmaker received the outcome. “It’s good that a resolution came. I feel refreshed. It’s like clearing a bone stuck in my throat,” said chairman, Osamu Suzuki (pictured below). “I’m very satisfied with the resolution. Through it, Suzuki was able to attain its biggest objective.”
“The Tribunal upheld Suzuki’s claim regarding VW’s disposal of its shares in Suzuki and ordered VW to divest forthwith those shares to Suzuki or a third party designated by Suzuki using a method which is reasonably determined by Suzuki,” added Osamu. As part of the ruling, Suzuki may compensate Volkswagen “for its breach of agreement” – of which the amount of damages will be determined in another stage of arbitration.
In a separate statement, Volkswagen stated that it acknowledged the ruling and will sell its remaining 19.9% stake in the Japanese brand. The German marque also said that it welcomed “the clarity created by this ruling” and that it “expects a positive impact on earnings and liquidity from the sale.”
Said fiasco began in 2011 when Osamu publicly confronted the German brand, offering to buy back shares from Volkswagen in a desperate bid to end the failed marriage. The catalyst, of course, was identified in 2009 when Volkswagen bought a stake in Suzuki under the impression that it wanted to gain insight into how the carmaker became adept at manufacturing compact budget vehicles.
In exchange, Suzuki would gain access to Volkswagen’s vast portfolio of technological and drivetrain-related know-how as well as being able to leverage on the German carmaker’s additional manpower. The Japanese marque, famous for its stance on independence, then began to doubt the German’s sincerity when the latter claimed it needed to upsize its stake to 33% to “facilitate technology transfers.”
Suzuki’s suspicions were solidified when the German brand listed the former as an associate and proceeded to book the firm’s profits on its annual report. With the dust settled, the ruling now leaves Volkswagen without a partner on which to work with to develop low-cost compact cars for emerging markets – Suzuki, on the other hand, will now be listed as a potential partner for other manufacturers to collaborate with.
As far as the latter’s recent collaborations go, Suzuki Motor Corporation has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Licence Agreement with Proton Holdings Bhd and DRB-Hicom for the production of cars as well as a new model. In a twist to the history books, Volkswagen was due to enter a technical partnership with Proton via acquiring a stake several years ago – said plan has since collapsed.