* VW board discussed Lamborghini options last week - source
* Technology partnerships or listing seen as options -
* Volkswagen approaches bankers, investors about possible
* Volkswagen declines to comment
(Recasts, adds detail)
FRANKFURT, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Volkswagen is
drawing up plans to carve out Lamborghini and has sounded out
bankers and potential investors about listing the Italian sports
car maker on the stock market, two sources familiar with the
matter told Reuters.
They said the German carmaker is looking to make Lamborghini
a more independent unit within its stable of car brands and is
discussing long-term supply deals, both steps which would make
it easier to carry out an initial public offering (IPO).
"This is a first step which gives VW the option to list the
unit further down the line," one of the sources familiar with
the discussions about the future of Lamborghini told Reuters.
The source said there was no formal decision to divest
Lamborghini and the timetable of any deal remained unclear.
A second source familiar with the talks about Lamborghini,
which is currently part of Audi, said Volkswagen would retain a
controlling stake in the supercar brand if it were to list.
Volkswagen declined to comment.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that Volkswagen was reviewing
the future of its high-performance brands Lamborghini, Bugatti
and Ducati as part of broader quest for more economies of scale
as it shifts to mass producing electric cars.
Two company executives told Reuters the review could lead to
technology partnerships for the sports car and superbike brands,
restructuring, or other options including a listing or sale.
The value of Italian supercar manufacturer Ferrari
has more than trebled since Fiat Chrysler listed it in
2016 though shares in rival Aston Martin have slumped
since its IPO in 2018.
Volkswagen's management and supervisory board will host a
five-year planning round in mid November and preparations to
carve out Lamborghini could help executives make a decision on a
sale or partial listing at short notice.
A third source familiar with the discussions said the future
of all three brands was discussed at a supervisory board meeting
last Friday, including how to electrify the Lamborghini and
Bugatti brands through partnerships and investors.
Lamborghini's Chief Executive Stefano Domenicali announced
this week his departure from the sports car maker to take on a
new job as president of Formula One.
Volkswagen Group's Chief Executive Herbert Diess said on
Wednesday the carmaker would announce "important steps" about
the company's future before the end of the year.
A global clampdown on vehicles powered by combustion engines
to curb carbon emissions has forced carmakers to accelerate the
development of low-emission technology for their mainstream
California, for example, which accounts for 11% of U.S. car
sales, plans to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger
cars and trucks from 2035, the State's Governor Gavin Newsom
said last week.
Volkswagen managers, however, are struggling to find the
resources needed to electrify low volume sports car models such
as Lamborghini and Bugatti, which sold 4,554 and 82 cars
respectively last year.
By reviewing VW's portfolio, Diess is slowly unwinding an
empire built by his mentor, Ferdinand Piech, Volkswagen's former
chairman and chief executive who died in 2019.
Piech, who hired Diess in 2015, turned Volkswagen around by
betting on modular construction techniques which allowed Audi,
Seat, Skoda, VW and to use common parts for up to 65% of their
Diess is taking a similar approach with electrification to
boost economies of scale, developing a modular electric vehicle
platform known as MEB, which will fit its mainstream compact and
medium-sized vehicles - but not supercars.
Piech bought the Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini brands as
part of an aggressive expansion push in 1998 which eventually
turned Volkswagen into the biggest car company in the world by
sales ahead of Toyota.
Diess told Reuters last month he had abandoned VW's
decades-old obsession with empire building and no-expense-spared
engineering to free up resources for the development and mass
production of electric cars.
"The product experience needs to be right. But you need to
keep an eye on cost. You cannot run the business by focusing
only on product," Diess said.
(Editing by David Clarke)