Was VW actually serious about this idea?
There was a time when the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, Daimler-Benz, owned shares in Tesla. Elon Musk even credits Mercedes for saving the startup company from bankruptcy. Back in 2009, Daimler invested $50 million for around nine percent of Tesla's stocks.
As part of the investment, Tesla was also contracted to supply electric powertrains for Smart cars and the Mercedes B-Class. Mercedes eventually sold its share in Tesla for a whopping $780 million in 2014, although the German automaker is open to collaborating with Tesla again in the future. Toyota also acquired roughly three percent of Tesla for $50 million in 2010 a stake in Tesla, which it then sold in 2017.
Tesla no longer collaborates with other automakers, but VW CEO Herbert Diess was also reportedly interested in acquiring a stake in the company according to German magazine Germany's Manager Magazin to access its software and battery technology. Citing sources within the company. the publication quoted one of VW's top managers saying "Diess would go in right away if he could."
However, Reuters reports that VW flatly denies these claims. "The speculation about buying a stake in Tesla made by Manager Magazin is without merit," a Volkswagen spokesman said. According to the publication, Diess would have struggled to get the consent of Volkswagen's controlling Piech and Porsche families to fund the stake purchase.
A banker close to Volkswagen said that although Diess would love to have Tesla's software developers, the CEO believed it was almost impossible to justify paying $30 billion to buy the whole company.
In the meantime, VW is preparing to launch its new electric ID. range, starting with the ID.3 hatchback. The production model will finally be at Frankfurt next month along with VW's new logo marking the start of its new electric era.