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Qatar could strengthen ties to Volkswagen

Frankfurt, May 19, 2010

Qatar, which controls 17 per cent of the votes in Volkswagen, is considering teaming up with Europe's largest carmaker for joint investments in the auto industry, according to a German magazine.

'We can help VW to expand, we could even create companies together,' said Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla, vice chairman of Qatar Holding and a member of the VW supervisory board, in an interview with German business magazine Capital.

The Qatari executive signalled his country, too, would look to play a much more visible role than sovereign wealth funds from the Gulf have in the past in Germany.

Abu Dhabi-based Aabar, which belongs to the emirate's IPIC wealth fund, started the trend ever since it took a 9.1 per cent stake in Daimler.

He suggested the Gulf state could also support it in any efforts to expand VW's control over Suzuki.

'We could for example buy a stake equal to the 20 per cent that Volkswagen owns and then control this firm together,' he said.

When asked to elaborate, the Qatari said: 'Oh, I am only thinking out loud.'

The chief executive of family-controlled Suzuki, Osamu Suzuki, has been quick to say quash speculation that he would support VW purchasing more shares and denied that the Japanese carmaker was now the 11th horse in Volkswagen's stable of brands.

Qatar Holding's Al-Abdulla also told Capital he would be a very active member of the board, and sharply criticised the German carmaker's lack of share in the US.

'I don't understand why Toyota controls nearly 20 per cent of the US market while VW doesn't even have 3 per cent. They could have 30 per cent but they don't build the right cars for US buyers. The company has to do more there.' he said.

Volkswagen aims to overtake Toyota as the world's largest carmaker by 2018. – Reuters




Tags: Volkswagen | Toyota | VW | IPIC | Frankfurt | Qatar Holding |

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