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Porsche, VW troubles brew

2008-06-03 11:46

Porsche chairman, Wolfgang Porsche, is trying to improve its relationship with, a Porsche spokesperson said, following a Reuters report that Volkswagen's CEO was considering whether to resign.

"I know of no incident in which Mr (Martin) Winterkorn had supposedly threatened to resign," Anton Hunger, the head spokesman of Porsche, Volkswagen's largest shareholder, said on Monday.

He said remarks Porsche made in an interview published last week in Manager Magazin - such as his criticism of VW's sales organisation as its biggest weakness - were taken out of context.

Citing company sources at VW, Reuters reported on Sunday that Winterkorn had repeatedly considered resigning from his post if Porsche intervened in his running of the company, and was particularly angered by Porsche's indirect attack on management.

Winterkorn, speaking to Monday's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, meanwhile rejected Porsche's claims that "the left hand did not know what the right one was doing" at sales and distribution, and brushed off scepticism from Porsche over whether VW could close the gap with Toyota.

"Customers, dealers, employees, suppliers and investors trust in the growth strategy of Volkswagen. It would be a shame if this was not the case with our largest shareholder of all things," he said.

Winterkorn also attacked a seemingly condescending remark from Porsche directed at the workforce, saying, "We don't just send our employees to the assembly lines, we treat them with the highest respect."

Porsche, asked in the Manager Magazin interview how he expected to deal with a possible conflict with VW's highly unionised workforce, had said: "The workers could simply go back to the assembly lines and work."



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