Volkswagen open to joining German battery cell consortium: source

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE is open to joining a German consortium exploring production of electric car battery cells and will discuss the matter at a supervisory board meeting on Friday, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.

A Volkswagen spokesman declined to comment.

Volkswagen has already awarded multibillion-euro battery cell supply contracts to LG Chem and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd., but Chief Executive Herbert Diess has said Germany should wean itself off a dependence on Asian suppliers.

The German government is coordinating efforts to form a multi-company consortium designed to do just that.

Companies involved in talks with Economy Minister Peter Altmaier about building a factory include German battery maker VARTA Microbattery, chemical giant BASF and Ford’s German subsidiary Ford-Werke GmbH, three people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

South Korea’s LG Chem is already supplying some German carmakers with electric vehicle batteries made in Poland, while Samsung SDI Co and SK Innovation are planning factories in Hungary.

Reporting by Jan Schwartz; writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by Kathrin Jones and Mark Potter