German coachbuilder Karmann has been in trouble since before the global economy caught its version of the swine flu, and from a workforce of 5,000 the company is down to 1,800. A huge order for VW electric vehicles was meant to keep the company going while it sorted out its issues, but even that won't be enough, so now VW is looking at buying the entire company.

Reports out of Germany say VW has offered a rather low amount for Karmann, something in the minimal double digits. But the three families behind Karmann want more. A lot more. Like, €65 million. That's nearly $100 million and probably far more than VW will pay, if for no other reason that Karmann's only other option, according to one of its own administrators, is liquidation.

Although it's possible that Karmann's owners could choose to disappear rather than accept VW's offer, we'd be surprised if that happened. What we think more likely is that VW, in the way it has had recently, gets its way. If things keep up like this, though, by the time the auto economy picks up again Volkswagen will own everything that isn't bolted down.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]