VW may drop sponsorship of Hannover 96, others: Bild am Sonntag

Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:07pm EST
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bundesliga soccer clubs Hannover 96, Werder Bremen and Schalke 04 as well as second division 1860 Munich are on the list of sponsorships Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE is considering dropping to cut costs amid its emissions scandal, German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported.

Volkswagen, Europe's largest carmaker, is battling the biggest business crisis in its 78-year history after admitting in September it installed software in diesel vehicles to deceive U.S. regulators about the true level of their toxic emissions.

On Friday, it cut 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) from its 2016 investment plan, as its emissions cheating scandal expanded to include tens of thousands more U.S. vehicles.

Auto analysts say the company could face a bill as high as 35 billion euros ($37.3 billion) for fines, lawsuits and vehicle refits.

According to Bild am Sonntag, Volkswagen spends about 1.5 million euros per season on each of the soccer clubs it could now cut from its sponsorship list. In addition, Volkswagen may drop its 5 million-euro-a-year sponsorship of ice hockey club Grizzlys Wolfsburg, the paper said.

Volkswagen was not immediately available for comment. Bild am Sonntag quoted the company as saying no final decision had been made.

Last month, soccer club VfL Wolfsburg said it had postponed plans for a new multimillion-euro youth training center after VW's emissions scandal.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

A Volkswagen company logo adorns the VW factory in Wolfsburg, Germany November 20, 2015. Text reads :  'We need transparancy, openess, energy and courage.'  REUTERS/Ina Fassbender