Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, is forging closer ties between its van division and MAN Group to give it the strategic option to build light commercial vehicles with the German heavy-truck manufacturer.
An agreement between VW and Daimler to build the so-called Crafter van at a Daimler plant in the western German city of Duesseldorf will expire in 2016.
VW may decide not to extend that pact and develop the Crafter’s successor model with MAN, Wolfgang Schreiber, head of VW’s van division told reporters on Wednesday.
“There is a preference and a discussion at the VW group to build an own vehicle with MAN,” said Schreiber, adding a decision will be taken in the next months.
Daimler had offered to extend the agreement with VW as well as to tie VW into its alliance with French car maker Renault. The Sprinter van of Mercedes and VW’s Crafter share the same technology platform. VW, which took a majority stake in MAN last November, holds 56 per cent of the company’s voting rights and aims to integrate the truckmaker with its Swedish truck brand Scania.
VW estimates that a combination may yield savings of at least 200 million euros ($262.18 million) per year, especially in procurement, production and research and development.