New Volkswagen (VOWG.DE) shareholder Qatar will start with only one seat on the carmaker's supervisory board, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Qatar will get one seat at the regular supervisory meeting in spring 2010 but in the medium term it could get a second one, the source close to the government of the German state of Lower Saxony said.

The state controls one fifth of VW's voting shares and holds a blocking minority in Europe's biggest carmaker.

Volkswagen declined to comment while Qatar was not immediately available for comment.

German business monthly Manager Magazin said that Qatar was pushing to have two seats as soon as it raises its stake to about 17 percent but VW's supervisory board chairman Ferdinand Piech was willing to grant the emirate only one seat.

Citing an unnamed VW executive, the magazine said that Piech feared that the Porsche and Piech families could lose power at VW if Qatar and Lower Saxony were together to hold as many board seats as the owner families.

The board has 20 seats, half of which are reserved for labour representatives. (Reporting by Peter Mlodoch, Arno Schuetze and Jan Schwartz; Editing by Greg Mahlich)