“The cooperation with Fiat has been going well in a climate of mutual trust for years,” a senior Suzuki executive told the Automobilwoche weekly. “It is perfectly imaginable that a strengthened partnership would be beneficial to both parties,” he said. “On the other hand, our cooperation with Volkswagen is still being reviewed.”
Volkswagen’s purchase of a 19.9-percent stake in Suzuki in December 2009 had been seen as an opportunity for both carmakers to benefit from each other’s strengths, in hybrid and small-car technologies respectively.
But the $2.5-billion alliance (€1.7 billion) turned sour, with Suzuki complaining that its autonomy was being jeopardized and that it was being treated like a subsidiary by Volkswagen.
Hans Demant, in charge of international cooperation at Volkswagen, stressed that both automakers were “two independent companies with different economic models.”
“As a result, cooperation should be developed with caution. It is unfortunately taking a little longer than what had been initially planned,” he told Automobilwoche.
In May this year, Italian daily Corriere della Sera had reported a secret meeting in Italy between Fiat and Suzuki executives.