OPINION: Germany looks past VW and Mercedes deals to deeper Canadian partnerships – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – August 24, 2022)


The folks who revolutionized the auto industry when they rolled out the Beetle are now shaking up the way they make cars, to Canada’s benefit.

On Tuesday, Volkswagen AG revealed a new approach to its supply chain as the company prepares to fill the roads with electric vehicles. The German automaker said that for the first time, it plans to take direct stakes in mining companies – with a focus on investment in Canada – to ensure a reliable supply of critical minerals.

VW’s announcement ahead of a Toronto business conference upstaged appearances by Germany’s Chancellor and Canada’s Prime Minister, typically headliners every time they take the stage. For Olaf Scholz and Justin Trudeau, watching someone else grab the spotlight was a sign they are doing something right.

The two leaders were in Toronto over breakfast to smile approvingly as executives from two of the world’s largest car companies – Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz AG
– signed partnerships with the Canadian government to develop electric vehicle and battery businesses in this country. Just ahead of the ceremony, a Volkswagen executive said the company plans to begin investing directly in Canadian miners.

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