HAMAMATSU, Japan (Bloomberg) -- Suzuki Motor said arbitration proceedings to end a long-running dispute with Volkswagen Group over a failed partnership have concluded.
The companies are now awaiting the arbitrators' ruling on the Japanese carmaker's effort to force VW to sell back a 19.9 percent stake.
"We are embarrassed by the fact that the arbitration took such a long time but we will disclose the conclusion as soon as it comes out," Suzuki President Osamu Suzuki said today at the annual shareholders meeting in Hamamatsu, Japan, where the manufacturer is based.
The dispute stems from the breakdown of a deal brokered in 2009 by Osamu Suzuki and Ferdinand Piech, VW's Chairman at the time. The goal was to cooperate on small, fuel-efficient cars for emerging markets. Relations soured over the next two years after each side accused the other of breaching the agreement, which was meant to supply Suzuki with technology and provide VW with wider access to the Indian car market.
While there's the possibility that the arbitrators will grant Suzuki's wish to gain back the stock from VW, "it could be that the two companies resume working together," said Frank Biller, a Germany-based analyst at LBBW. "For Volkswagen, it would make sense to run a joint project that could see it sell budget cars in Asia."
The manufacturers never developed any models together, and Suzuki started the arbitration proceedings with a panel in London in November 2011.
Eric Felber, a spokesman at VW, declined to comment on Suzuki's remarks.
VW is Suzuki's biggest investor following the early 2010 purchase of the stake for 1.7 billion euros ($1.9 billion). Suzuki bought 770 million euros of VW stock, and currently holds about 1.5 percent of the German company's common shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Japanese manufacturer's Maruti Suzuki India unit is the south Asian country's largest carmaker. Suzuki agreed in mid-June to cooperate with Malaysian counterpart Proton Holdings on a compact car.