VW won't merge VW, Scania and MAN brands - paper

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen VOWG.DE can wring benefits from joint truck operations without having to combine the Scania SCVb.ST, MAN MANG.DE and VW truck brands, VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said in a newspaper interview.

“We do not need to merge the three brands to benefit from synergy effects,” he was quoted as saying by Germany’s Handelsblatt in excerpts of an interview to be published on Monday.

“We will not make one single company out of three strong brands.”

VW agreed in March to take majority control of Sweden’s Scania and is the biggest shareholder in MAN with a stake of around 30 percent, prompting speculation VW could raise its MAN stake to a majority as well and form a giant automotive group.

The strategy is to use a range of brands while saving money on joint technology and purchasing, he said, according to the paper.

Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, also makes light commercial vehicles in Europe and heavy trucks in South America.

The paper said Winterkorn would not rule out MAN’s taking over VW truck operations in Brazil at some stage, quoting him as saying: “That is certainly one of several imaginable options.”

Volkswagen's largest shareholder, Porsche SE PSHG_p.DE, has said it intends to raise its stake to a majority once it clears anti-trust obstacles, but Winterkorn said VW would still set its own course.

“Porsche SE, under whose roof the VW stake is being administered, will not make operative decisions for Volkswagen as an automotive company even in the future” he said. “Volkswagen’s heart will continue to beat in Wolfsburg.”

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Jason Neely)

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