Wolfsburg-based VW has spent billions of euros over the past decade
on expanding stakes in Sweden's Scania <SCVb.ST> and Germany's MAN <MANG.DE>
to reap cost savings and take on Daimler <DAIGn.DE>, the world's
biggest truck maker.
But the full benefits from its alliance with Scania and MAN that VW
Chairman Ferdinand Piech once pegged at about 1 billion euros ($1.37
billion) have yet to materialize.
The group's supervisory board will focus on VW's eight-year effort
to create Europe's top manufacturer of heavy-duty commercial
vehicles when it meets on Friday to sign off on 2013 earnings, two
sources told Reuters on condition they not be named because the
matter is confidential.
VW's 20-member supervisory board will discuss ways to promote
cooperation among truck makers, the sources said without being more
specific. VW declined to comment.
Europe's biggest automotive group is struggling to replicate its
successful multi-brand management of passenger-car marquees such as
luxury flagship Audi and Czech division Skoda in its truck
operations, the success of which is important for its goal of
becoming world market leader by 2018.
"VW can't be satisfied with the state of the trucks alliance and
will want to raise its clout at Scania," Marc-Rene Tonn, analyst
with Hamburg-based M.M. Warburg, said.
The German manufacturer is aiming to save about 200 million euros of
truck-making costs this year by pooling purchases of materials such
as tires, steel and glass. Over time, the goal is to jointly develop
components, engines and platforms.
But VW's management in Wolfsburg is growing frustrated with lack of
progress under the 68-year-old trucks chief Leif Oestling, sources
said, whose contract at VW expires in 2015.
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To speed up the cooperation with its own commercial-vehicle
division, VW wants to hire Renschler, ex-chief of Daimler Trucks who
unexpectedly resigned last month as head of production at the
Mercedes-Benz luxury division.
But Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche has said Renschler would not be able
to join a rival soon because of a non-compete clause in his
VW, which already owns 62.6 percent of Scania's equity and 89.2
percent of the votes, is also considering whether buying the
remaining shares is necessary to increase control over the Swedish
company, Wall Street Journal said on February 4, citing financial
VW's truck, buses and van units combined have 35 billion euros of
commercial vehicles sales and Daimler has commercial vehicles sales
of about 44 billion, ISI Global analysts said.
In its 2013 results due on Friday, VW is forecast to report a
15-percent gain in fourth-quarter operating profit to 3.08 billion
euros, according to a Reuters poll, benefiting from record sales at
the Audi and Porsche premium divisions and declining costs of
installing a new modular production platform.
($1 = 0.7307 euros)
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; editing by
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