Suzuki Frustrated with VW, Mulls Turning to Fiat

Japanese automaker Suzuki is getting increasingly frustrated with its larger partner Volkswagen and is eying deeper ties with Italian giant Fiat, German media said Saturday.

"The cooperation with Fiat has been going well in a climate of mutual trust for years," a senior Suzuki executive told the Automobilwoche weekly.

"It is perfectly imaginable that a strengthened partnership would be beneficial to both parties," he said. "On the other hand, our cooperation with Volkswagen is still being reviewed."

Volkswagen's purchase of a 19.9-percent stake in Suzuki in December 2009 had been seen as an opportunity for both car makers to benefit from each other's strengths, in hybrid and small-car technologies respectively.

However the 2.5-billion-dollar alliance (1.7 billion euros) turned sour, with Suzuki complaining that its autonomy was being jeopardized and that it was being treated like a subsidiary by Volkswagen.

Hans Demant, in charge of international cooperation at Volkswagen, stressed that both automakers were "two independent companies with different economic models."

"As a result, cooperation should be developed with caution. It is unfortunately taking a little longer than what had been initially planned," he told Automobilwoche.

In May this year, Italian daily Corriere della Sera had reported a secret meeting in Italy between Fiat and Suzuki executives.

Source: Agence France Presse

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