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VW CEO Sees Partnership, Record Earnings In Future

By BridgeNews Volkswagen AG CEO Ferdinand Piech is mulling a cross-shareholding with an overseas partner. "I can imagine that happening, but only with two headquarters and two companies that concentrate on their own markets," Piech said in an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit. Piech said the largest carmakers, which he calls "dinosaurs," can only survive if they address the four major economic zones, namely Asia, Europe, the U.S., and Latin America, from more than one center -- a feat that may call for a partnership. Piech also dismissed as "a narrow vision" shareholder pressure to cut jobs to improve the company's stock performance. "They prefer to see 30,000 staff go as they believe rationalizing a company automatically involves job cuts. But if we cut 30,000 jobs, we'll also lose 30,000 customers. In greater Wolfsburg [the company's German headquarters], one in three people would be jobless." Despite this, Piech admits the company's share price does need attention, and in another recent interview, he boldly predicted record results for company performance this year. "As long as we are not struck by lightning, there will probably be the best results in the history of the company in 2000."

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