APRIL 27, 1998
Audi bids for Cosworth
JUST when it looked as though BMW had won the battle for Rolls Royce Motor Cars, Volkswagen has come back with a much bigger offer for the luxury car company, offering Vickers around $600m for the company. Volkswagen has said that it would be willing to let Rolls Royce remain independent and have offered to buy engines from Cosworth, so that the Northampton company can build Rolls Royce engines, which are currently made by BMW or, if Vickers agrees, to buy the entire Cosworth empire.
This is very significant for Grand Prix racing because Cosworth builds Ford's V10 engines and the American car maker cannot really afford to lose Cosworth as it would mean that the company would have to establish its own engine-building facility, a move which would be disruptive in F1 and very expensive.
Although the purchase of Cosworth would mean that the racing division's staff and expertise would be at the disposal of VW, we do not believe there are any serious short-term plans for Audi to enter F1 and so the only logical conclusion is that VW's bid for Cosworth is a very clever way for VW to make the deal for Rolls Royce Motor Cars much more attractive because it will force Ford to buy Cosworth to protect its F1 program. In effect this means that Volkswagen has upped its bid but it will be Ford that has to pay the extra money.
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