The four-door coupe for the masses employs technology to get its top ratingEnlarge Photo
Earlier this month, VW's share value had risen by almost 55% to give the Volkswagen AG the largest market value of any carmaker in the world at $127.5 billion, exceeding even Toyota's valuation by about $3 billion, thanks in part to the Japanese company having fallen to a four-year low in its stock price, down 56% since its peak in February 2007. The newest jump in valuation comes on the heels of Monday's announcement of Porsche's new 42.6% holding and 74.1% control option in VW. At the end of trading yesterday, VW's share price closed at €675 ($847), a gain of 33% on the day, but not enough to hold onto the title of world's largest company by market capitalization.
The secret to VW's earlier valuation success, say the analysts, lay in its successful hedge-fund trading strategies. It certainly didn't come from the company's automotive sales strategies in the U.S., as the company's efforts in the world's largest carmarket of late have been underwhelming at best. A new resurgence of effort hopes to turn that tide, however, and set VW on the path to unseating Toyota from its position as the world's most prolific automaker as well. At any rate, VW has said it sees Toyota as its only real competition on the global stage.
Part of VW's U.S. plans, in addition to a new model surge, include the construction of a new vehicle assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The $1 billion facility will be used initially to produce a midsize sedan designed specifically for the North American market. The car is expected to be based on the Passat and is being designed to rival the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. It could also be joined by a new midsized SUV designed to sit between the current Tiguan and Touareg models, and Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has also hinted at building some Audi models at the site to help avoid currency exchange rate fluctuations between the dollar and the euro.