Volkswagen has officially denied a media report it is going to buy a stake in Tesla, but the truth is a little more complicated than that.
The publication also claimed Diess meets with Tesla CEO Elon Musk on a regular basis and that the latter had so far rejected VW’s efforts to form an alliance.
“The speculation about buying a stake in Tesla made by Manager Magazin is without merit,” a Volkswagen spokesman told Reuters. The magazine, however, quoted an unidentified top Volkswagen manager as saying that “Diess would go in right away if he could.” According to the report, acquiring a stake would allow the German carmaker to access Tesla’s technological expertise.
Such a deal, though, could meet opposition from Volkswagen’s controlling Piech and Porsche families when it comes to funding the stake purchase.
Currently, Tesla is valued at around $30 billion (approximately €27 billion), which makes it too pricey even for a giant like Volkswagen. The German company currently faces numerous Dieselgate-related fines and lawsuits, as well as massive investments in the development and production of electric vehicles, so investing that kind of money would stretch its finances too much.
A banker close to VW allegedly told Manager Magazin that Diess would love to have Tesla’s software developers, but admits it was almost impossible to justify buying the whole company.
A major automaker holding a stake in Tesla would not be something new. Over the years, the U.S. EV specialist was partly owned by Toyota and Daimler. Both automakers eventually sold their stakes after Musk’s company went public and the stock’s value increased significantly.