Mark Renders, Getty Images; inset: Sean Gallup, Getty Images
Suzuki wordmark and Volkswagen marque

Suzuki Set to Buy Back Shares as VW Dispute Settled

Aug. 31, 2015
Six years after first collaborating and almost three years after the split was supposed to have been finalized, the Japanese and German automakers finally close the book on an unhappy partnership.

TOKYO — Suzuki Motor said on Sunday that it plans to buy back its shares sold to Volkswagen after an international arbitration court settled a dispute between the two automakers.

The ruling came four years after the Japanese small car maker attempted to end an alliance with the German auto giant, which has refused Suzuki’s repeated demands to sell back the 112.21 million shares, or 19.9% of Suzuki.

Arbitrators at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ruled that the alliance has been terminated and ordered Volkswagen to dispose of Suzuki shares, the Japanese company said. 

Chairman Osamu Suzuki said at a press conference held in Tokyo on Sunday he “feels really good” and is “satisfied” with the decision from arbitrators. The chairman did not elaborate on why the two automakers had to split after a 1.7 million euro ($2.3 billion) tie-up in 2009. 

“It was a precious experience. I learned there are different types of companies,” he said. Asked about future partnerships with Volkswagen, he said “you will not remarry someone you have divorced with,” adding the company will focus on “surviving independently.” 

Suzuki planned to seek support from Volkswagen in hybrid technologies and other eco-friendly areas, while the German firm hoped to jointly develop small cars for emerging markets by taking advantage of Suzuki’s know-how. But they made little progress and halted their joint projects.

The Japanese automaker in 2011 said it wanted to end the alliance, citing a deep disagreement over collaboration and complained that its partner failed to provide promised access to technologies. Suzuki demanded Volkswagen sell back its stake in the Japanese carmaker by November 2012.

Ahead of Suzuki’s move toward ending the tie-up, relations had become frayed as Volkswagen served notice of an alleged infringement relating to the supply of diesel engines to Suzuki from Italian carmaker Fiat.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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