The Beetle And The Crown Jewel

THE GERMANS ARE TURNING OUT TO BE ROLLS-ROYCE ENTHUSIASTS AFTER ALL. Ending weeks of rumors, Volkswagen CEO Ferdinand Piech said on Mar. 25 that he has bid on the storied British luxury carmaker owned by Vickers, the British industrial group. The move could enable VW to join the other big German auto makers in the luxury market. BMW confirms that it also still plans to bid on Rolls, but Daimler-Benz says it isn't interested. At least two British bids, including one by a management group, also are being planned. Piech wouldn't say how much he offered, but analysts expect Rolls to fetch $500 million or so. The bidding will likely continue into April.

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