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VW denies rumor of investment in Tesla

CEO Herbert Diess allegedly expressed interest in Tesla's battery and software technology.

Volkswagen has flatly denied a report that claimed CEO Herbert Diess is interested in acquiring a stake in Tesla.

Inside sources told Germany's Manager Magazin that Diess believed an investment in the California-based automaker could help VW improve its battery and software technology.

Speaking to CNBC, VW spokesman Pietro Zollino dismissed the report, saying "It's completely unfounded. It's pure speculation."

Daimler was a relatively early investor in Tesla, acquiring a stake for $50 million in 2009 and then selling the shares for around $780 million in 2014. The German automaker earlier this year confirmed that both companies are still involved in talks, opening the door to potential collaboration, though no specific agreements have been made public.

Other automakers have acquired stakes in less mature EV startups. VW Group's Porsche unit last year took a stake in Croatian electric sports car maker Rimac, while Ford invested $500 million in Michigan-based Rivian.

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