Volkswagen to sever van partnership with Daimler: source

Wed Jan 9, 2013 10:44am EST
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HAMBURG/STUTTGART (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) is looking to end its commercial vehicles partnership with Daimler (DAIGn.DE: Quote), as VW seeks closer ties with truck subsidiary MAN MANG.DE, a person familiar with the plans said.

Under a collaboration deal that expires in 2016, Daimler currently makes VW's Crafter van, which is largely similar to Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Sprinter model.

But VW has started to develop a follow-up model by itself, the source said.

"VW's commercial vehicles unit has been clearly mandated to develop a Crafter successor model," the person told Reuters.

Daimler (DAIGn.DE: Quote) said in September it would reach out to Volkswagen to see whether the partnership could be extended and offered to include Renault-Nissan (RENA.PA: Quote).

Last year, Daimler and Nissan struck a deal on trucks under which Daimler's Japanese truck unit Mitsubishi Fuso will supply its Fuso Canter light truck to Nissan, while Nissan will make the Atlas F24 truck available to Fuso.

VW's powerful Chairman Ferdinand Piech has previously said he would favor truckmaker MAN, in which VW holds more than three quarters of the shares, over Daimler as van alliance partner.

(Reporting by Jan Schwartz, Hendrik Sackmann and Irene Preisinger; Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Ralf Banser)

Old Volkswagen emblems are displayed with other car companies logos at antique market in Olszyny near Szczytno, northern Poland July 22, 2012. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel