Volkswagen may add two brands after Porsche image

Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest automaker, may add two more brands after acquiring Porsche SE’s sports-car business, according to Supervisory Board Chairman Ferdinand Piech.

Volkswagen may expand its collection of marques, which include Audi, Skoda and Seat, to as many as a dozen, Piech said last night at a VW event at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW is taking over the 911 sports- car manufacturer, making Porsche its 10th brand.

“It’s all in discussion,” Piech said, when asked about the prospect of VW adding more brands. “Twelve is easier to remember than 10.”

Volkswagen is turning around to acquire Porsche’s sports-car business after Porsche’s holding company, which is controlled by the Porsche and Piech families, failed to take over VW. Volkswagen’s purchase of a 42 percent in Porsche AG as a first step of the combination is due to be completed by the end of the year.

Volkswagen, which already owns truckmaker Scania AB, also holds a 30 percent stake in German truckmaker MAN AG. Piech declined to identify possible targets.

Hans Dieter Poetsch, Volkswagen’s CFO, played down the possibility of a rapid expansion to 12 brands. Speaking at the same event, he said Volkswagen needed to first complete the acquisition of Porsche, which is “demanding.”

Volkswagen has no interest in buying Suzuki Motor Corp., Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said in an interview last night, calling the Japanese carmaker a “nice company.” VW is considering a partnership with Suzuki to improve its line-up of small-sized cars, a person familiar with the situation said in June.

Ducati Motor

Neither is VW interested in taking over Italian motorcycle maker Ducati Motor Holding SpA, the CEO added.

Winterkorn said car sales in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, may tumble 20 percent next year as government- backed trade-in incentives expire. Germany’s VDA carmakers’ association said yesterday that new sales may exceed 3.5 million cars this year, without giving an outlook for 2010.