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Auto blogMon, 03 Feb 2014 15:44:00 EST
Back in 2008, Porsche got the bright idea that it could take over Volkswagen in the midst of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression. Ignoring that this was a catastrophic move for the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer that that eventually resulted in it nearly going bankrupt and eventually being taken over by the same company it sought to control, the aftermath has left Porsche Chairman Wolfgang Porsche and board member Ferdinand Piëch in the crosshairs of seven hedge funds that lost out during the takeover and are now seeking €1.8 billion - $2.43 billion US - in damages from the two execs, according to the BBC.
See, investors bet on Volkswagen's share price going down, partially because Porsche said it wasn't going to attempt a takeover. But Porsche was attempting to take over VW, having bought up nearly 75-percent of VW's publicly traded shares. When word broke that Porsche owned nearly three-quarters of VW (which indicated an imminent takeover attempt), rather than go down like the hedge funds bet it would, VW's share price skyrocketed to over 1,000 euros per share, according to Reuters.
Naturally, when you bet that a company's share price is going to drop and it in turn (temporarily) becomes the world's most valuable company, you lose a lot of money, unless you're able to buy up shares before prices jump too much. This led to a squeeze on the stock, which the hedge funds accuse Porsche and Piëch (who are both members of the Porsche family and supervisory board) of organizing.
Volkswagen introduced its aggressive R-Line appearance package on the CC and Beetle last year, but later this year, this treatment will also be applied to VW's crossovers, the Tiguan and Touareg. Both sporty-looking utility vehicles will be unveiled next week at the Detroit Auto Show.
The 2014 Tiguan R-Line comes standard with bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights, and the package adds 19-inch wheels, grey fender extensions, body-color side skirts and a liftgate spoiler. Inside, the R-Line adds a flat-bottom sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, a black headliner and numerous metallic trim accents such as the stainless scuff plates, the aluminum pedals and metallic finish on the instrument and door panels. The Tiguan R-Line will be offered in front- and all-wheel drive configurations.
As for the 2014 Touareg R-Line (shown above), this model gets an ever more distinctive look with an aggressive front fascia, 20-inch wheels and dual oval-shaped exhaust outlets in addition to the painted side skirts and LED taillights. Similar metallic interior trim pieces found inside the Tiguan R-Line will also make their way into the Touareg as well as gloss black accents on the instrument panel and center stack.
On the eve of the Detroit Auto Show, Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn has confirmed the imminent arrival of a new crossover. The model, previewed at the same show last year by the CrossBlue concept pictured here, will be unique to the North American market when it arrives here in 2016. The new three-row, seven-seat crossover is part of an ambitious expansion plan on the part of Volkswagen and Audi in North America, where the two brands aim to sell a million vehicles by 2018.
That's a mighty big increase over the 600,000 vehicles which the Volkswagen Group sold here last year, but it's moving in the right direction: That number is already a 100-percent increase of what it sold here just five years ago. At that rate, VW should have little trouble meeting its goals, particularly with the arrival of the new crossover and the introduction of Golf production at its assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico. Read the full statement below for more.