Volkswagen joins bidders for Rolls-Royce cars

The prospects of the Rolls-Royce luxury car maker remaining in British hands all but disappeared yesterday after Volkswagen of Germany threw its hat in the ring. VW's intervention turns the battle for ownership of Rolls into an auction between as many as seven big car groups, all of them foreign.

Reports from Germany yesterday suggested that VW had already made a bid and had all but won the contest. But a spokesman for parent company Vickers, which put Rolls up for sale three weeks ago, dismissed this as "nonsense".

BMW of German has already confirmed that it is interested in buying Rolls and, despite a denial yesterday, Daimler-Benz is also thought to be contemplating a bid.

All three main US car groups - General Motors, Ford and Chrysler - are believed to be eyeing Rolls although, again, GM yesterday denied it was interested. The other possible bidder is Fiat of Italy, which owns Ferrari and Alfa Romeo.

Industry observers said they doubted whether any British bid would now emerge following the collapse of the planned pounds 1bn hostile bid for Vickers by the car components and engineering group Mayflower.

It was pointed out that only large car companies with deep pockets and specialist knowledge of the business were likely to bid. Since BMW bought Rover three years ago, Britain no longer has a UK-owned volume car maker.

Analysts estimates of Rolls' value range from pounds 250m to pounds 600m. It is reckoned to make profits of about pounds 21m a year. But any buyer would probably have to invest a further pounds 500m to renew the model range.

German press reports said that VW had made an informal offer that was likely to be accepted. But a Vickers spokesman said: "The deal is not done, that is wrong. The timetable goes well into next year and the deal may not be done until the spring."

He also pointed out that Lazards. Vickers financial advisers, had not yet sent out the Memorandum of Sale to interested parties and was still in the process of registering expressions of interest.

Another observer said: "There is a peculiar German dynamic to all this. BMW, VW and Daimler delight in tweaking each other's tails. In particular, VW likes the idea of taking the battle on to BMW's forecourts." BMW has been approached by a dozen wealthy Rolls owners asking to be included in any bid it decides to make.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £32,000+

£18000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat