BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- Porsche SE, the controlling shareholder of Volkswagen Group, plans to use its cash to invest in car-connectivity technology as part of a push to expand its portfolio beyond the automaker.
Porsche SE is looking to acquire technology that will allow cars to exchange data, Martin Winterkorn, CEO of both VW and the holding company, said on Wednesday. The investment vehicle of the Porsche-Piech family will continue its careful approach after making only one investment in years of searching, the CEO said. "When acquiring new investments, we continue to exercise exceptional diligence," Winterkorn said at Porsche SE's annual shareholders meeting in Stuttgart. "Everything has to be right."
Porsche SE has laid out a strategy to use its cash from Volkswagen dividend payments to expand in industries related to carmaking. This year, the company expects positive net liquidity of between 1.7 billion euros and 2.3 billion euros ($2.6 billion). So far, its only investment has been the 41 million-euro purchase of a 10 percent stake in traffic-information provider Inrix Inc. in 2014.
Winterkorn called for more investments in companies such as Inrix, as real-time traffic information is critical for self-driving cars. "Porsche SE sees a considerable market and growth potential in this area," Winterkorn said.
Winterkorn's unusual position as head of both Volkswagen and its main shareholder stems from the companies' aborted merger in 2009. The Porsche-Piech family will ultimately need to decide whether continuing this dual role makes sense. The descendants of VW Beetle creator Ferdinand Porsche are still grappling with naming a Volkswagen chairman to succeed Ferdinand Piech, who resigned after failing to oust Winterkorn at VW.
Winterkorn, a former confidant of Piech, defended the family's role at the automaker, while Wolfgang Porsche, Porsche SE chairman and Piech's cousin, reiterated that the clan stands by its responsibility to Volkswagen.
"Our association is a true win-win," said Winterkorn. "We at Porsche SE benefit considerably from the strong benefit of the Volkswagen Group. Volkswagen, in turn, benefits from a stable ownership structure."