Suzuki accuses Volkswagen of breaching agreement

The Japanese car company Suzuki on Friday upped the stakes in its row with Volkswagen as it served the German automaker a legal notice demanding it "remedy numerous breaches" of their ill-fated alliance.

Suzuki accuses Volkswagen of breaching agreement
Photo: DPA

Suzuki said it served Volkswagen with a “notice of breach,” claiming it was not given access to technologies promised under their €1.7 billion ($2.3 billion) tie-up. It demanded that if the German firm does not offer access to the hybrid technologies, the auto giant must sell back its stake and quit the alliance.

“The notice requires that VW remedies numerous breaches of the companies’ Framework Agreement,” the statement said.

Suzuki is seeking action from Volkswagen within two weeks, according to spokesman Hideki Taguchi, adding that the firm hopes to reach an amicable settlement.

The Japanese automaker in September said it wanted to end its two-year venture with Volkswagen following disagreements on how to operate together. They formed a tie-up in 2009 under which Suzuki expected to beef up its development of green technology.

Chairman and CEO Osamu Suzuki said in a statement: “This capital alliance was intended to facilitate Suzuki’s access to VW’s core technologies. I remain disappointed that we have not received what we were promised.”

“If Volkswagen will not allow access it must return Suzuki’s shares,” Suzuki said.

Volkswagen currently holds 19.9 percent of Suzuki’s outstanding shares.

“We believe that the Suzuki allegations are unfounded,” a Volkswagen spokesman said when contacted by AFP, adding that it “had always complied with the rules of the contract between the two groups.”

It said it “was considering all options,” implying it may also consider legal action.

Ahead of Suzuki’s move last month toward ending the partnership, 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.

Volkswagen’s purchase of the 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.

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 have since halted their joint projects.

Suzuki complained that its autonomy was being jeopardised and that it was being treated like a subsidiary by Volkswagen.


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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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