VW's Scania truck alliance in focus as board meets: sources

Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:18pm EST
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By Andreas Cremer and Jan Schwartz

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) will focus later this week on its long-standing ambition to become Europe's biggest truck manufacturer which could set the stage for the hiring of ex-Daimler executive Andreas Renschler, sources familiar with the matter said.

Wolfsburg-based VW has spent billions of euros over the past decade on expanding stakes in Sweden's Scania SCVb.ST and Germany's MAN (MANG.DE: Quote) to reap cost savings and take on Daimler (DAIGn.DE: Quote), the world's biggest truck maker.

But the full benefits from its alliance with Scania and MAN that VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech once pegged at about 1 billion euros ($1.37 billion) have yet to materialize.

The group's supervisory board will focus on VW's eight-year effort to create Europe's top manufacturer of heavy-duty commercial vehicles when it meets on Friday to sign off on 2013 earnings, two sources told Reuters on condition they not be named because the matter is confidential.

VW's 20-member supervisory board will discuss ways to promote cooperation among truck makers, the sources said without being more specific. VW declined to comment.

Europe's biggest automotive group is struggling to replicate its successful multi-brand management of passenger-car marquees such as luxury flagship Audi and Czech division Skoda in its truck operations, the success of which is important for its goal of becoming world market leader by 2018.

"VW can't be satisfied with the state of the trucks alliance and will want to raise its clout at Scania," Marc-Rene Tonn, analyst with Hamburg-based M.M. Warburg, said.

The German manufacturer is aiming to save about 200 million euros of truck-making costs this year by pooling purchases of materials such as tires, steel and glass. Over time, the goal is to jointly develop components, engines and platforms.   Continued...

The logo of Volkswagen is pictured during a media preview day at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski