What's got VW interested in F1 again?
Recent comments by Volkswagen Group bigwig Wolfgang Durheimer have led to fresh speculation that the German manufacturer could enter one of its brands in F1 in the next three years. Dieter Rencken analyses the situation
To headline scanners it was simply a case of yet another motor manufacturer seeking cheap black ink by linking its name to the world's largest continuous sporting audience, and thus not worth devoting more than a paragraph or two to. To those in the Formula 1 loop, however, the admission by Wolfgang Durheimer – of whom more later – that he would shortly be recommending to his Volkswagen bosses that the company enter F1 sooner rather than later ranks among the significant announcements made in the past 12 months.
To those scanners, VW is a brand, a purveyor of quality, with Teutonically-engineered but rather mundane family cars whose roots lie in the pre-WWII Beetle; to students of the motor industry, Volkswagen is a massive industrial automotive group whose sales in 2011 topped 8.15million units – via no less than 10 automotive brands, and up 14 per cent over 2010 despite the global economic crisis – to provisionally take the company to the world number 1 car slot, ahead of (a revitalised) General Motors (and beleaguered) Toyota. (Note: sales exclude Suzuki, in which the group holds 21 per cent.)
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