The years-long battle between Volkswagen and Porsche looks to have finally reached its end, with the former, which had already owned a large chunk of the latter, now set to acquire a controlling interest in the rest of Porsche’s automotive business. The price: A cool $5.4 billion dollars, along with a single share of VW stock.
The relationship between the two automakers actually dates back to the 1930s, when Ferdinand Porsche helped develop what would become the original Volkswagen Beetle, and there was plenty of VW DNA—and parts—in the iconic 1939 Porsche 356, considered to be the first true Porsche. The companies continued their often contentious collaborations as the years past, often to the dismay of Porscheophiles, and some readers will remember that today, for example, the 2013 Porsche Cayenne has bit of a doppelgänger in the VW Touareg.
Things finally came to a head in 2009, with Porsche attempting to gain control over VW with some complicated financial scheme that, needless to say, backfired; the result was a chain reaction that eventually led to the current state of affairs. Certainly not helping matters—or helping matters quite a bit, depending on how you look at things—is the fact that the head of the Volkwagen Group is Ferdinand Porsche’s grandson, Ferdinand Piech, who has had his eyes on reclaiming the Porsche prize for a while now.
Trying to fully untangle the complex web of machinations behind the VW-Porsche tussle is, frankly, beyond the scope of this story, but here’s the party line from Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board of management for Volkswagen: "The unique Porsche brand will now become an integral part of the Volkswagen Group. That is good for Volkswagen, good for Porsche and good for Germany as an industrial location. Combining their operating business will make Volkswagen and Porsche even stronger—both financially and strategically—going forward. We can now cooperate even more closely and jointly leverage new growth opportunities in the high-margin premium segment through targeted investments in pioneering products and technologies. This will benefit our customers, our employees and our shareholders.”
(FYI: Volkswagen Group also owns well-known auto brands like Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Audi.)