VW will not sell stake in Suzuki: spokesman

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German auto giant Volkswagen said on Monday it had no plans to end its cooperation with Japanese partner Suzuki, even though Suzuki has decided to pull out of the two-year-old alliance.

"We're still interested" in a cooperation with Suzuki, a VW spokesman said in response to an announcement by the Japanese car maker that it was severing ties with Europe's biggest car maker.

"We stand by what we've always said, and what we said again yesterday," the spokesman told AFP, pointing to a company statement in which it insisted that Suzuki "remains an attractive investment."

The two car makers entered into a strategic alliance in December 2009, with VW buying a 19.9-percent stake in Suzuki and the Japanese group buying 1.5 percent of its German partner with the aim of pooling their respective strengths in hybrid and small-car technologies.

However the 1.7-billion-euro ($2.3-billion) alliance turned sour, with Suzuki claiming its autonomy was under threat and that VW was treating it as its own subsidiary.

VW announced at the weekend that it was serving notice of an infringement by Suzuki of their cooperation agreement.

"The notice concerning the infringement relates to the supply of diesel engines produced by another manufacturer to Suzuki. Volkswagen takes the view that this contradicts the terms of the cooperation agreement," the German maker said in a statement.

"Suzuki has now been given a period of several weeks to remedy the infringement. Volkswagen considers this step regrettable, but necessary, and has offered to discuss the matter with Suzuki."

© 2011 AFP

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