Mike Stevens | Jan 22, 2010

SPEAKING TO PRESS in Japan this week, Suzuki CEO Osamu Suzuki assuaged concerns the company could become a Volkswagen-owned business, saying it would likely refuse any approach for a bigger stake.

The Suzuki CEO's comments come a month after the two companies announced that Volkswagen had taken a 19.9 percent share in the Japanese carmaker, at a cost of around $2.7 billion.

"When Suzuki becomes a bigger and more successful company, Volkswagen will probably want to buy more of our shares," Mr Suzuki told press at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

"If that happens, Suzuki will probably respond by saying, 'Let's continue as we are'," he said.

Mr Suzuki added that he would not want to see the company founded by his wife's grandfather becoming Volkswagen's 12th brand.

Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech has commented in the past that he can see the company's portfolio growing to 12 brands, up from the 10 it currently has (including Porsche).

While Volkswagen has not hinted at any plans, many industry watchers expect the German giant to eventually push for a controlling stake in Suzuki, as part of its bid to become the world's number one carmaker by 2018.

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