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Charging ahead: VW becomes biggest German firm as investors bet on electric

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Auto future: The production line for the electric Volkswagen model ID4 in Zwickau, Germany. Photo: REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel

Auto future: The production line for the electric Volkswagen model ID4 in Zwickau, Germany. Photo: REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel

Auto future: The production line for the electric Volkswagen model ID4 in Zwickau, Germany. Photo: REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel

Volkswagen (VW) surpassed SAP to become Germany's most valuable public company yesterday, driven by growing investor confidence it can supplant Tesla as the global electric vehicle leader.

VW's preference shares rose 11pc at the close in Frankfurt yesterday, valuing the automaker at about €139bn, roughly €13bn more than SAP.

Vaulting past Europe's biggest software company marks a spectacular comeback for the German industrial giant, which last topped the country's DAX Index six years ago, shortly before the bruising experience of the diesel-emissions cheating crisis.

Several companies have held the title over the past few years including Wirecard AG, the financial technology firm that went bust in one of Germany's biggest accounting scandals.

While Tesla remains the world's most valuable automaker by far at roughly $640bn (€535bn), VW's recent rise shows that investors have started to give credit the most aggressive push into electric cars by a traditional manufacturer.

Chief executive Herbert Diess this week made back-to-back announcements on how he plans to turn VW into the leading electric-car company, earmarking investments in battery factories and a slew of new plug-in models.

VW plans to bolster its software operations to 10,000 staff, making it one of Europe's biggest technology outfits after SAP, which first snatched the German stock-market crown from Siemens in July 2012.

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