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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map