March 17, 2020 / 1:27 PM / 3 months ago

Volkswagen says it still wants to buy Navistar but also needs to conserve cash

A new logo of German carmaker Volkswagen is unveiled at the VW headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) on Tuesday said it still wants to buy out U.S. truckmaker Navistar (NAV.N) but added that the coronavirus crisis will require the carmaker to conserve cash as it shuts down plants and throttles back production.

“The current liquidity outlook does not take into account a Navistar takeover,” Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter said in a call to discuss results on Tuesday.

The outbreak of the coronavirus presented a “curveball” for the auto industry and although China has shown that the outbreak can be controlled eventually, there will be more bad news for the autos sector before a recovery in demand is possible, Witter said.

“We have not pulled the deal, we still believe it is a good idea, but we will watch like hawks the liquidity situation and the prioritization of all activities we are contemplating,” Volkswagen Group Chief Executive Herbert Diess said.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Thomas Seythal

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