Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (2024)

Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (1)

Volkswagen AG (VOW) is a german car manufacturer selling cars under multiple brands worldwide. It makes money predominantly from selling Volkswagen, Audi, and Porshe cars and lending people money to buy them. Let’s look at who owns Volkswagen and who controls it.

Volkswagen’s largest shareholders are Porsche SE, which owns a 31.9% share, followed by the German State of Lower Saxony (11.8%), and Qatar Investment Authority (10.5%). However, thanks to the existence of preferred shares with no votes, Porsche SE controls 53.3% of Volkswagen.

Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (2)Volkswagen's Largest Shareholders (Dec 2022)
ShareholderOwnershipVoting Power
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (3)Porsche SE31.9%53.3%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (4)Lower Saxony11.8%20.0%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (5)Qatar Investment Authority10.5%17.0%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (6)Other45.8%9.7%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share classor notable in other ways
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (7)Source: Annual Report

Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (8)

In this article, I will dive more into who owns Volkswagen and who controls it. I will show you who Volkswagen’s largest shareholders are, how many shares and votes they have, and how much their stake is worth.

If you are interested, you can also explore who owns other companies like Tesla, Netflix, Alphabet(Google), Ferrari, or Zoom.

📃 Who Owns Volkswagen?

Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (9)

Volkswagen is owned by its shareholders. The largest ones are holding company Porsche SE controlled by the Porsche-Piëch family, which owns 31.9% of the company, followed by Lower Saxony with 11.8% ownership share, and Qatar Investment Authority with 10.5% ownership share.

The largest owner of Volkswagen is the holding company Porsche Automobil Holding SE, also referred to as Porshe SE, controlled by the Porsche-Piëch family, which owns 31.9% of the company.

  • To clear out common confusion, let me point out that Volkswagen shareholder Porsche AG (full name: Porshe Automobil Holding SE) is not the same company as car manufacturer Porshe AG (full name: Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG), that is a subsidiary of Volkswagen. See more on this in later parts of this article.
  • Porshe SE owns the majority of voting power in Volkswagen AG, because Volkswagen has issued preferred shares without voting rights owned by other investors.

The second largest Volkswagen owner is the German State of Lower Saxony, where Volkswagen has its headquarters and large manufacturing plant, which owns an 11.8% stake.

  • Apart from their ownership stake and voting power, german law gives the State of Lower Saxony blocking rights over certain decisions. Volkswagen was originally wholly owned by the German government, and part of government shares was first floated on the Frankfurt stock market in 1962 and has been traded in the United States via depositary receipts since 1988.
  • The state of Lower Saxony owns Volkswagen mainly through its 100% owned company Hannoversche Beteiligungsgesellschaft Niedersachsen mbH (HanBG).

A sizable owner is also Qatar Investment Authority (through a subsidiary Qatar Holding LLC), which owns 10.5% of the company. QIA is Qatar’s sovereign fund, investing in assets worldwide.

Volkswagen was founded in 1937 by the Nazi German government and has been a publicly listed company since the German government floated part of its stake on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 1961 (Ticker: VOW).

Volkswagen AG is incorporated in the State of Lower Saxony (Germany), where the company also has its headquarters in Wolfsburg.

🎮 Who Controls Volkswagen (VOW)?

Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (10)

Volkswagen’s shareholders with the largest voting power are are Porsche SE, controlled by the Porsche-Piëch family, which holds 53.3% of all votes, followed by the German State of Lower Saxony with 20.0% voting power and Qatar Investment Authority with 17.0% of votes.

As you can see, the size of voting power is not equal to ownership. The reason why certain shareholders have outsized voting power compared to their ownership stake is that Volkswagen AG has two classes of outstanding shares, with different rights.

  • Ordinary shares: Give shareholders one vote per share and standard economic rights (traded under VOW ticker).
  • Preferred shares: Give their holders the same economic rights as regular shares and a slightly higher dividend. However, they have no voting rights. (traded under VOW3 ticker)If the shareholders own regular shares, their voting power is higher than their overall ownership share because preferred shares have no voting rights.

Volkswagen’s shareholder with the largest voting power is Porsche SE which holds 53.3% of all votes, despite owning “only” 31.9% of Volkswagen. This is possible thanks to non-voting preferred shares that other shareholders own.

Just based on voting power, it would seem that Porshe SE is in control of Volkswagen. However, in the case of Volkswagen, things are more complex thanks to government involvement.

The first thing that makes the control of Porshe SE difficult for its major shareholder is that Volkswagen’s articles of association require that only half of the 20-member supervisory board are shareholders’ representatives. The rest are employee representatives elected by employees.

  • More precisely, it is seven (7) employees and three (3) union representatives.

Another thing is that the state of Lower Saxony is entitled to appoint two Supervisory board members as long as they hold at least 15% of the company’s ordinary shares.

Last but not least, control of Porshe SE is limited by 20% voting power of the state of Lower Saxony, which gives it the power to block any major decision concerning merger and acquisition or changes in articles of association.

  • Lower Saxony blocking power is a result of “Volkswagen Law” that requires Volkswagen to require a majority of 80% for any fundamental decision that would normally, under german law, need two-thirds of votes (66.66%).
  • Such fundamental decisions are, for example, amendments to the articles of an association that change the capital structure, dissolution of the company, and approval of transactions such as mergers and transformations.
  • Historically, this law required that none of the shareholders can exercise voting power higher than 20%. Germany redrafted this part of the law in 2008 because it did not comply with EU anti-protectionist rules.

Volkswagen’s insiders that have influence over the Company are the CEO and chairman of the Board of Management, Oliver Blume, chairman of the supervisory board Hans Dieter Pötsch, and other board members and executives. However, the company is controlled by the Porsche-Piëch family. They are the ones pulling the strings, with the veto power on the important decision by the Lower Saxony government.

  • Volkswagen’s Board of Management has nine (9) members.
  • Volkswagen’s Supervisory Board has twenty (20) members, half of them elected by employees.

Volkswagen AG had a total of 501 million outstanding shares as of December 2022. The following table shows how many shares each Volkswagen’s large shareholder holds.

Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (11)Volkswagen's Outstanding Shares by Shareholder
In millions of shares as of December 2022
ShareholderClass AClass CTotal% Share
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (12)Porsche SE157316031.9%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (13)Lower Saxony59-5911.8%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (14)Qatar Investment Authority5025310.5%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (15)Other2920123045.8%
Total (# millions)295206501100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share classor notable in other ways
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (16)Source: Annual Report

There were 295 million votes distributed among shareholders of Volkswagen AG. The table below shows the total number of votes for each large shareholder.

Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (17)Volkswagen's Vote Control by Shareholder
In millions of votes as of December 2022
ShareholderClass ATotal% Share
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (18)Porsche SE15715753.3%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (19)Lower Saxony595920.0%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (20)Qatar Investment Authority505017.0%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (21)Other29299.7%
Total (# millions)295295100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share classor notable in other ways
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (22)Source: Annual Report

Because some shareholders own preferred shares with no voting rights, shareholders who own ordinary shares have outsized voting power.

The following table summarizes how much is each shareholder’s stake in Volkswagen AG worth.

However, keep in mind that a stake in Volkswagen could be just one part of their portfolio, and their total worth could be bigger, thanks to other investments. It could also be lower if they have debts.

Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (23)Volkswagen's Market Value by Shareholder
Market value in billions $ as of December 2022
ShareholderClass AClass CTotal% Share
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (24)Porsche SE$24.8$0.3$25.134.8%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (25)Lower Saxony$9.3-$9.312.9%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (26)Qatar Investment Authority$7.9$0.3$8.211.4%
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (27)Other$4.5$25.0$29.540.9%
Total ($ billions)$46.4$25.6$72.0100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share classor notable in other ways
Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (28)Source: Annual Report

Let’s now look at each Volkswagen shareholder individually.

Let’s now go through the list of the largest shareholders of Volkswagen AG one by one and look at who they are, how many shares they own, what is their voting power, and how much is their stake in Volkswagen worth.

#1 Porsche SE (31.9%)

Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (29)

Porsche SE is the largest shareholder of Volkswagen, owning 31.9% of its shares. However, thanks to non-voting shares that other shareholders own, it controls 53.3% of all votes.As of December 2022, the market value of Porsche SE’s stake in Volkswagen was $25.1 billion.

Porsche SE owned 160 million shares in Volkswagen and controlled 157 million shareholder votes as of December 2022.

Porsche Automobil Holding SE (Porsche SE) is the holding company set up in 2007 and controlled by Porsche-Piëch family. The company is the majority owner of the Volkswagen Group.

Porsche SE is not the direct owner of the car company Porsche AG, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen.

Besides the majority stake in Volkswagen AG, Porshe SE owns Porsche Engineering and Porsche Design Group.

#2 Lower Saxony (11.8%)

Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (30)

Lower Saxony is the second-largest shareholder of Volkswagen, owning 11.8% of its shares. However, thanks to non-voting shares that other shareholders own, it controls 53.3% of all votes.As of December 2022, the market value of Lower Saxony’s stake in Volkswagen was $9.3 billion.

Lower Saxony owned 59 million shares in Volkswagen and controlled 59 million shareholder votes as of December 2022.

Lower Saxony is one of 16 states within the Federal Republic of Germany. It is located in northwest Germany.

#3 Qatar Investment Authority (10.5%)

Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (31)

Qatar Investment Authority is the third-largest shareholder of Volkswagen, owning 10.5% of its shares. However, thanks to non-voting shares that other shareholders own, it controls 53.3% of all votes.As of December 2022, the market value of Qatar Investment Authority’s stake in Volkswagen was $8.2 billion.

Qatar Investment Authority owned 53 million shares in Volkswagen and controlled 50 million shareholder votes as of December 2022.

Qatar Investment Authority was founded by the State of Qatar in 2005 and serves as Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. It had roughly $445 billion of assets under management in 2022.

QIA invests in businesses and real estate around the world. The most famous abroad investments are stakes in Volkswagen AG, Heathrow Airport, or Barclays, a British bank.

QIA also owns 50% of Qatar National Bank, which is, despite its name, a commercial bank.

❔ Does Porsche Own Volkswagen, or Does Volkswagen Own Porsche?

It is sometimes confusing when people talk about Porsche and Volkswagen to realize who owns who. Does Porsche own Volkswagen, or does Volkswagen own Porsche?

Volkswagen both owns Porshe and is owned by Porshe. However, it is a different Porsche company in each case. Volkswagen’s majority shareholder Porshe Automobil Holding SE is not the same company as a car manufacturer and Volkswagen subsidiary Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG.

Porshe Automobil Holding SE (Porshe SE) is a holding company controlled by Porsche-Piëch family. Porshe SE is the majority shareholder of Volkswagen AG and does not make or sell any Porsche cars.

Volkswagen AG owns many subsidiaries, and one fully owned subsidiary is “Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG” (Porsche AG) which makes famous Porsche cars.

🧱 Who and When Founded Volkswagen?

Volkswagen was founded in 1937 by the Nazi German government to produce a car based on the designs of Ferdinand Porsche. The car became later famous as “Beetle.” However, not many passenger cars were produced in its factory until the second world war ended.

During the war, the Volkswagen factory was mainly manufacturing army vehicles using slave labor.

After WWII, British Army took control of the factory, and later, in 1949, the British handed it over to the German federal government.

In 1961 German federal government floated part of its stake on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, but special law ensured that any future private shareholders could not overpower the government.

Volkswagen stocks have been traded in the United States via depositary receipts since 1988.

📅 Volkswagen’s History Timeline

These are selected events from Volkswagen’s history:

  • 1937: Volkswagen was founded by the Nazi German government.
  • 1961: Part of government shares was floated on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

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Who Owns Volkswagen: The Largest Shareholders Overview (2024)

FAQs

Who is the largest shareholder of Volkswagen? ›

The largest owner of Volkswagen is the holding company Porsche Automobil Holding SE, also referred to as Porshe SE, controlled by the Porsche-Piëch family, which owns 31.9% of the company.

Who owns Volkswagen owner? ›

Many drivers are becoming more and more curious about the origins of the vehicles that they drive. Because of this, you may be wondering who owns Volkswagen. Volkswagen is owned and managed by Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, or Volkswagen AG.

Who are the main stakeholders for Volkswagen? ›

VW Stakeholders
  • Daughter Companies (Skoda, Porsche, Audi, Lamborghini)
  • Suppliers.
  • Employees.
  • Bondholders.
  • Media.
  • Small Shareholders (Managers; Owners)
  • Owners (Qatar; Lower Saxony)
  • Competitors (BMW; Mercedes)

Who are the shareholders of Volkswagen 2014? ›

The distribution of voting rights was as follows at the reporting date: Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Stuttgart, held 50.73% of the voting rights. The second-largest shareholder was the State of Lower Saxony, which held 20.0% of the voting rights. Qatar Holding LLC was the third-largest shareholder, with 17.0%.

Who owns Volkswagen now? ›

The Volkswagen brand is managed and owned by Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, also known as Volkswagen AG.

How did the Volkswagen scandal affect shareholders? ›

VW shares lost up to 37 percent of their value in the days after authorities exposed illegal levels of pollution emitted from VW diesel cars.

Is Volkswagen still owned by the government? ›

The company was owned by the West German government and the State of Lower Saxony until 1960, when it was mostly denationalized. Now the company is publicly traded. The major stockholders still include Lower Saxony, along with Porsche Holding SE and Qatar holding.

Is Volkswagen still German owned? ›

Volkswagen (German pronunciation: [ˈfɔlksˌvaːɡn̩] ( listen)), abbreviated as VW ([faʊˈveː] ( listen)), is a German automobile manufacturer headquartered in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany.

Do the Chinese own Volkswagen? ›

SAIC-Volkswagen

Equity holdings are split (as of 2010) - Volkswagen AG (40%), Volkswagen (China) Invest (10%), SAIC (50%). This a fixed term venture, of 45 years, running until 2030. Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co., Ltd.

Who are the most 3 important stakeholders? ›

As a general rule, stakeholder priority can be divided into three levels. The first and most important comprises employees, customers, and investors, without whom the business will not be able to operate. Secondary to them are suppliers, community groups and media influencers.

What is the Volkswagen stakeholder scandal? ›

The Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal, known as “Dieselgate,” demonstrates that businesses can safeguard corporate social responsibility objectives and prevent or repair damage from corporate social irresponsibility by involving the stakeholder ecosystem in positive value co-creation.

What is the stakeholder theory of Volkswagen? ›

Volkswagen's losses can be explained through the Stakeholders' Theory, where a successful company needs to “create value” for its stakeholders. In Volkswagen's case there was an imbalance of value generally between the shareholders and the community – more of the value was created for the shareholders.

Is Volkswagen a family owned business? ›

The company is still partially owned by the descendants of Ferdinand Porsche, who designed the very first Volkswagen products. The other co-owning family, the Piëch family, was significantly involved in the company's latest rise to new heights. Ferdinand Piëch became chairman and CEO of the Volkswagen Group in 1983.

What is VW share name? ›

Volkswagen AG (VLKAF)

Is Volkswagen Group private? ›

Volkswagen AG is a public limited company under German law (Aktiengesellschaft) with share capital of EUR 1,283,315,873.28, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany.

What percentage of Volkswagen does Porsche own? ›

h.c. F. Porsche AG, and became a holding company for the families' stake in Porsche Zwischenholding GmbH (50.1%) (which in turn held 100% of the old Porsche AG) and currently is the major shareholder in Volkswagen AG (31.3%) and holds the majority voting rights (53.1%).

Does the Porsche family still own Porsche? ›

The Porsche family (also known as Porsche–Piëch family) is a prominent Austrian–German family of industrialists descending from the Austrian–German automotive pioneer Ferdinand Porsche. Its members control Porsche SE and have a majority voting right over Volkswagen AG, the largest automaker in the world.

How much of Volkswagen does Qatar own? ›

Qatar Holding, the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar, bought 10% of Porsche shares and 17% of Volkswagen shares. Porsche bought back its shares eventually, but Volkswagen shares remain with Qatar. The total deal is estimated to be around 5.9 billion British pounds (around US$8.85 billion).

How many Porsche shares does VW own? ›

- Volkswagen AG and Porsche SE jointly own all of Porsche AG's ordinary shares in a 75% minus one share-25% plus one share split. - Overall, 75% minus one ordinary share of Porsche AG's total share capital is owned by Volkswagen AG after the IPO.

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