Europe’s biggest carmaker, Volkswagen is strengthening the ties between its van division and MAN, planning to build light commercial vehicles with the German heavy-truck manufacturer.
Volkswagen already has an agreement with Daimler to build the so-called Crafter van at a Daimler plant in the western German city of Duesseldorf. The agreement will expire in 2016 and VW may decide not to extend the pact and instead to develop the Crafter’s successor model with MAN. Daimler had offered to extend the agreement with VW as well as to tie VW into its alliance with French car maker Renault.
“There is a preference and a discussion at the VW group to build an own vehicle with MAN,” said Wolfgang Schreiber, head of VW’s van division, adding a decision will be taken in the next months.
Vehicle sales at VW’s van division rose about 9% in the first two months compared with the same period in 2011. In November 2011 VW took a majority stake in MAN, holding 56% of the company’s voting rights and aims to integrate the truckmaker with its Swedish truck brand Scania. On February 14th declared that the company plans to expand into commercial vehicles weighing between 3.5 and 7 tons to plug a gap in its portfolio.