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Tesla-Volkswagen partnership: VW CEO shuts down rumor

VW CEO has shut down the rumors of a collaboration between Tesla and Volkswagen after he was reported to be excited about an investment in the electric automaker.

Over the years, Tesla was partly owned by Toyota and Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company.

Both automakers ended selling their stake after Tesla went public and the stock increased in value significantly.

In 2009, Daimler invested $50 million for roughly 9% of Tesla’s stock.

Throughout the years, when Daimler was a Tesla investor, they had contracts with Tesla for them to supply electric powertrains to some of their early EV programs.

In 2014, when Daimler stopped its powertrain supply contract with Tesla, it ended up selling its stake in the company for $780 million — a healthy profit on a $50 million investment.

Toyota also had a similar relationship with Tesla and slowly started divesting its stake in the company, eventually selling everything in 2017.

Tesla has since stopped supplying its expertise or electric powertrain to other automakers, focused on its own electric vehicle programs, and stopped working with other automakers altogether.

However, the automaker has been rumored to be in talks with Volkswagen for a potential partnership ever since CEO Elon Musk attempted to take Tesla private last year.

Volkswagen was rumored to be one of the companies interested in investing to take Tesla private and board member Kimbal Musk confirmed it in a recent deposition.

Elon Musk ended up abandoning the project of taking Tesla private, but the rumors of a collaboration between Tesla and Volkswagen kept going.

Earlier this year, German media reported that VW CEO Herbert Diess was pushing for the German automaker to invest in Tesla, but the company denied the rumor.

During the announcement that Tesla is going to build a factory in Germany earlier this week, Musk and Diess were on stage at the same time and the interviewer stated that the two meet together regularly – leading to a very awkward conversation:

The rumors kept going, but Diess has now shut them down at a press conference in Wolfsburg, Germany today.

The CEO said (via Reuters):

“Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess on Friday said the German carmaker has no plans to cooperate with start-up electric carmaker Tesla.”

Although, Diess reiterated admiration for the electric automaker and credited Tesla for its innovation in the electric vehicle space.

Electrek’s Take

As I stated when the rumors came up again this summer, I doubt this is going to happen.

Tesla doesn’t seem to need cash these days and they are probably having a bigger impact on established automakers as a competitor.

However, if Tesla starts working with other automakers again, I think it will happen as a battery cell supplier.

I could see that happening, but not for a few more years.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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