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Monday, 7 March 2011

VW Buys into BMW's Carbon-Fibre Dream

The Economist
March 1, 2011

Volkswagen sprang a surprise at the Geneva car show today. The carmaker announced that it will invest €140m ($194m) in an 8% stake in SGL Carbon, a German firm which constructs things from carbon-fibre composite materials. The deal surprised many because SGL is already instrumental in BMW’s quest to use carbon fibre to manufacture lighter vehicles, and BMW also has a stake in the company. Ferdinand Piëch, VW’s chairman, says he does not think sharing ownership of SGL with one of VW’s big rivals will cause any problems. Mr Piëch has good reason to hope it will not because the use of carbon fibre is turning into a critical area of competitive advantage for carmakers.
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