Suzuki kills partnership with Volkswagen

Japan's Suzuki said on Monday said it had decided to end its capital and business partnership with German carmaker Volkswagen after a disagreement about ordering engines from a third party.

Suzuki kills partnership with Volkswagen
Photo: DPA

Yet Volkswagen said it had no plans to end the cooperation, and was not planning to sell its shares in Suzuki.

“We’re still interested,” in the alliance,” a spokesman said on Monday. “We stand by what we’ve always said and what we said again yesterday,” he said, pointing to a company statement in which the firm insisted Suzuki remained an attractive investment.

Volkswagen’s purchase of a 19.9 percent stake in Suzuki in December 2009 had been seen as an opportunity for both carmakers to benefit from their respective strengths in hybrid and small-car technologies.

But Volkswagen said back in July that the partnership was progressing more slowly than expected, and said it would carry out an assessment of how things were going.

The Germans then said on Sunday that the contract had been broken by Suzuki’s ordering of diesel engines from a third party – which industry insiders said was Fiat. Volkswagen gave Suzuki a deadline of several weeks to change things – prompting Suzuki’s cancelling of the entire partnership.

Suzuki said it had asked Volkswagen to end the capital alliance between the firms and unload its stake, in a statement issued through the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

“We formally decided at a board of directors meeting to cancel the business partnership and capital ties with Volkswagen AG due to worries that it is deemed difficult to achieve our company’s objective concerning the business partnership,” Suzuki said.

“We will ask Volkswagen AG to dispose of (Suzuki) shares in correspondence with our company’s intentions,” it said, adding that it would dispose of its shares in the German automaker in the same way.

The Japanese automaker holds about 1.5 percent of the German company, or 4.39 million shares, a Suzuki spokesman said.

The €1.7 billion ($2.3 billion) alliance turned sour after Suzuki felt its autonomy was being jeopardised and that it was being treated like a subsidiary by Volkswagen.

In a loaded statement on Monday, Suzuki said it was seeking “genuine business partners” among automakers at home and overseas “with which we have no capital ties”.

Suzuki shares closed down 2.75 percent at ¥1,484.

AFP/DPA/The Local/hc

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Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium

At least two people were hospitalised Tuesday after a Greenpeace activist crash-landed on the pitch before the Germany-France match at Euro 2020 when his powered parachute microlight struck spidercam cables at Munich's Allianz Arena.

Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium
The activist lands on the turf of the Allianz Arena. credit: dpa | Christian Charisius

The pilot flew over the pitch just before kick-off in the Group F clash with “Kick out oil” written on the canopy of his parachute.

However, when the pilot hit television cables above the pitch, it knocked his microlight off balance and he landed on the turf after clipping one of the stands, where the casualties happened.

The activist was arrested soon after landing.

A Munich police spokesman told AFP that at least two people suffered head injuries and “both had to be taken to hospital, we don’t know yet how serious the injuries are”.

The police spokesman said the activist appears to have escaped injury, but “we are considering various criminal charges. Munich police has zero understanding for political actions that put lives at risk”.

UEFA also slammed the botched stunt.

“This inconsiderate act – which could have had very serious consequences for a huge number of people attending – caused injuries to several people attending the game who are now in hospital and law authorities will take the necessary action,” European football’s governing body said in a statement.

The parachutist above the stadium. Photo: dpa | Matthias Balk

“The staging of the match was fortunately not impacted by such a reckless and dangerous action, but several people were injured nonetheless.”

The stunt was a protest against German car manufacturer Volkswagen, one of the sponsors of the European Championship, Greenpeace explained in a Twitter post.

“UEFA and its partners are fully committed to a sustainable Euro 2020 tournament and many initiatives have been implemented to offset carbon emissions,” said UEFA.

Greenpeace said they regretted any harm caused.

“This protest was never intended to disrupt the game or hurt people,” read a Twitter post on Greenpeace’s official German account.

“We hope that everyone is OK and that no one was seriously injured. Greenpeace actions are always peaceful and non-violent.”

“Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan.”

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