Volkswagen Circles for Stake in Navistar

FRANKFURT — According to the Financial Times Deutschland and various other media outlets, Volkswagen is considering whether to purchase stake in Navistar.

Volkswagen does not have a strong presence in the U.S. commercial vehicle market, but a stake in Navistar would put the German auto maker in a better position to compete with Daimler Trucks, currently the biggest global commercial vehicle manufacturer.

“European trucks are built with the cab over engine so synergies are indeed harder to achieve with a U.S. truck maker, but VW would at least gain control over a sales and distribution network in addition to the International brand,” an industry source not involved in any talks told Reuters.

The day after Navistar’s 2Q12 report, investor Carl Icahn bought more of the company’s shares, raising his stake in Navistar from 10.6 percent to 12 percent. According to various reports, Icahn was pushing for Navistar to merge with U.S. heavy truck maker Oshkosh Corp. in early 2012.

Reuters also noted that the day after Navistar’s financial report, Sergio Marchionne, chairman of truckmaker Fiat Industrial, also said that he was interested in the U.S. truck market.

Neither Volkswagen or Navistar have officially commented.

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