White knight for Karmann?

Pete Mait

It looks as though open-top specialist Karmann has been thrown a lifeline. Volkswagen have offered the insolvent company a rescue package in the form of a takeover. Apparently, talks are well advanced between the Wolfsburg giant and the north German niche manufacturer. The sticking point appears to be the price, with Karmann claiming to be worth 65 million euros. It is also not quite clear which parts of the company VW intend to swallow up. Karmann currently has a 1,600-strong workforce, 800 of whom are facing immediate redundancy.

The Osnabrück-based carmaker boasts a long tradition stretching back to the year 1901. The most famous model ever produced was the Karmann Ghia in the 1950s, a coupé version of the VW Beetle. Production of this vehicle, which achieved cult status around the globe, came to an end in the 1970s. Since 1949, Karmann have been manufacturing complete cars in small production runs, totalling 3.3 million units over the six decades.