SAIC Miffed at VW Comment About JV

March 20, 2019 at 12:41 AM

SAIC Motor Corp. has taken offense that Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess told reporters that VW might raise its 50% stake in the venture launched by the two carmakers 34 years ago.

Diess also said VW hopes to finalize any changes in its stakes with all three of its partners in China no later than early next year, according to Automotive News China. In addition to SAIC, VW operates ventures with FAW Group and Jianghuai Automobile.

SAIC says it’s “regrettable” that VW commented publicly about equity stakes without first discussing it with its Chinese partners.

Foreign carmakers have been required to ally with one or more Chinese companies and limit their stake in the resulting venture to 50% or less. But last summer China’s central government agreed to phase out that restriction by 2022.

The dustup with SAIC was Diess’ second gaff last week. Earlier he made a word play on a Nazi slogan emblazoned on the gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp, “work will set you free,” to extol the benefits of improved operating earnings in an internal management meeting.