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Volkswagen’s Audi to Buy 49% Stake in Design Specialist CSI

Volkswagen AG’s Audi luxury-car unit plans to buy a 41 percent stake in design specialist CSI Unternehmensgruppe, its second investment in car design specialists in four days.

“Engineers at CSI have been a reliable partner for more than ten years,” Michael Dick, Audi’s development chief, said today in an e-mailed statement, citing cooperation on the 111,000-euro ($149,000) R8 sports car.

CSI, founded in 1995, specializes in developing interior and exterior modules for carmakers including Porsche AG and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz. The company employs 250 workers at eight German sites including Ingolstadt, where Audi is based, and Wolfsburg, the corporate headquarters of VW.

Audi, which has overtaken Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz in sales this year and aims to outrank luxury-market leader Bayerische Motoren Werke AG by 2015, is targeting sales of 2 million vehicles a year by 2020, two people familiar with the matter have said.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, is being examined by antitrust authorities, Audi said. Spokesman Julio Schuback declined to be more specific when contacted by phone.

Audi said on Nov. 25 that it agreed to buy a 91 percent stake in design specialist PSW Automotive Engineering GmbH, a company with 550 employees that also cooperates with Daimler, VW and BMW. The carmaker didn’t disclose the cost of the acquisition.

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