TOKYO (Reuters) - Suzuki Motor Corp Chairman Osamu Suzuki said it was unclear when an international arbitration court will rule on its 2-1/2 year dispute with Volkswagen AG over their failed partnership.
Japan’s No.4 automaker by global sales volume filed for international arbitration in November 2011, after Volkswagen refused to sell back a 19.9 percent stake in Suzuki it acquired in January 2010 for 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion).
Earlier this month, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that a London-based arbitration court had wrapped up witness hearings and was expected to issue a ruling before the end of the year.
“It’s unclear,” the 84-year-old chief executive told reporters in Tokyo when asked about the likely timing of a ruling. Pressed on whether the two companies could reach a settlement, he said repeatedly: “We are the ones that took this to court.”
The two automakers agreed on a tie-up in December 2009, vowing to work together on technologies in areas such as hybrid and electric vehicles, and on expanding in emerging economies.
Suzuki later accused its German partner of withholding hybrid technology it had promised to share and demanded the return of the 19.9 percent stake. Volkswagen for its part complained about Suzuki’s purchase of diesel engines from Fiat SpA.
Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Edmund Klamann and David Holmes