Porsche swallows Volkswagen as VW grabs Scania

Monday was a memorable day for Europe's largest automaker Volkswagen AG – only hours after buying a controlling stake in Swedish truck manufacturer Scania, VW was in turn swallowed by the holding company of luxury carmaker Porsche.

This clears the way for Porsche SE to exercise significant control over both VW and Scania, Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the Centre for Automotive Research in Gelsenkirchen, Germany told The Local after the flurry of deal making was announced.

“These were two perfect deals which will position Porsche SE as one of the most important carmakers in the world,” the automotive sector expert said. “The rest of the car industry is looking at them closely and expects they’ll be very competitive in the next year.”

Through their €2.9 billion deal with Scania, Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen increased their voting rights in the company to 68.6 percent.

VW’s decision to take control of Scania could dramatically reshape the heavy vehicle industry via a possible eventual merger of the Swedish group with German rival MAN, of which VW is also the leading shareholder.

For all practical purposes, Porsche SE’s increased stake in VW means that the company will also have significant influence within the heavy truck and utility vehicle sector via Scania and MAN.

Car expert Dudenhöffer told The Local that the alliance between the companies will be practical for all involved because they can share expertise across the board.

Stuttgart-based Porsche Automobil Holding SE, which controls luxury sports car manufacturer Porsche AG, had been expected to increase its VW share, previously at 31 percent, for some time.

The two car companies have a long-standing relationship of engineer cooperation. But whether the company’s move today was intentional or coincidence is unclear.

“Our aim is to create one of the strongest and most innovative automobile alliances in the world, which is able to measure up to the increased international competition,” Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking, Chief Executive Officer of Porsche SE, said in a statement on Monday.

The Porsche-VW deal is expected to face several months of regulatory approval by German authorities.


Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium

At least two people were hospitalised Tuesday after a Greenpeace activist crash-landed on the pitch before the Germany-France match at Euro 2020 when his powered parachute microlight struck spidercam cables at Munich's Allianz Arena.

Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium
The activist lands on the turf of the Allianz Arena. credit: dpa | Christian Charisius

The pilot flew over the pitch just before kick-off in the Group F clash with “Kick out oil” written on the canopy of his parachute.

However, when the pilot hit television cables above the pitch, it knocked his microlight off balance and he landed on the turf after clipping one of the stands, where the casualties happened.

The activist was arrested soon after landing.

A Munich police spokesman told AFP that at least two people suffered head injuries and “both had to be taken to hospital, we don’t know yet how serious the injuries are”.

The police spokesman said the activist appears to have escaped injury, but “we are considering various criminal charges. Munich police has zero understanding for political actions that put lives at risk”.

UEFA also slammed the botched stunt.

“This inconsiderate act – which could have had very serious consequences for a huge number of people attending – caused injuries to several people attending the game who are now in hospital and law authorities will take the necessary action,” European football’s governing body said in a statement.

The parachutist above the stadium. Photo: dpa | Matthias Balk

“The staging of the match was fortunately not impacted by such a reckless and dangerous action, but several people were injured nonetheless.”

The stunt was a protest against German car manufacturer Volkswagen, one of the sponsors of the European Championship, Greenpeace explained in a Twitter post.

“UEFA and its partners are fully committed to a sustainable Euro 2020 tournament and many initiatives have been implemented to offset carbon emissions,” said UEFA.

Greenpeace said they regretted any harm caused.

“This protest was never intended to disrupt the game or hurt people,” read a Twitter post on Greenpeace’s official German account.

“We hope that everyone is OK and that no one was seriously injured. Greenpeace actions are always peaceful and non-violent.”

“Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan.”

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