Volkswagen Group is reportedly mulling ideas to restructure its portfolio of brands. The shuffling, which is being considered as the company doubles-down on electrification and self-driving technologies, could move Bentley to Audi and see some brands spun off.
According to German publication Automobilewoche, one of the biggest shifts being considered by VW Group executives is making Bentley a subsidiary of Audi. Such a move would allow for greater technology sharing between the two luxury brands, potentially providing synergies–both strategic and cost–that aren’t in the cards with them being isolated brands. It’s unclear what would happen to Ducati, which is technically considered a subsidiary of Audi today.
Finding a new home of Bentley isn’t the only significant move being considered at VW. Discussions are reportedly ongoing surrounding the notion of spinning off Lamborghini into a public entity. This would be a move that mimics what Fiat Chrysler Automobiles did with Ferrari back in 2015; taking the company public, but maintaining control.
Reports have also recently surfaced that VW is considering selling Bugatti Rimac. Such a transaction would potentially allow Volkswagen to take a bigger share in Rimac, which is a battery-electric startup in Croatia.
Many of these possible strategic changes come as little surprise. As more and more governments draw a line in the sand for the end of internal combustion engines, Volkswagen and other automakers are having to speed up their investments in electrification.
Increasing their focus on electrification and self-driving technology is leaving fewer R&D dollars to devote to brands that don’t necessarily mesh well with either technological advancements, such as Lamborghini and Bugatti.
Volkswagen leadership will reportedly meet sometime next month to discuss a potential restructuring in more detail.