Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has stated, in no uncertain terms, that Volkswagen AG will not get its hands on the Alfa Romeo brand.
It’s no secret that Volkswagen has been eyeing the emotive Italian marque for some time, with company bigwigs Ferdinand Piech and CEO Martin Winterkorn voicing the firm’s interest as recently as October last year. But now Marchionne has issued a hands-off warning to Volkswagen over Alfa Romeo – stating that the German carmaker should rather focus on fixing its embattled Seat brand.
During a JD Power automotive conference in the US, Marchionne made his stance regarding Volkswagen’s intentions clear:
"As long as I am CEO of Chrysler and Fiat, Mr [Ferdinand] Piech will never have Alfa Romeo…It's hands-off. I told him. I will call him and I will email him."
“I'm not the one who bought Seat. He's the one who bought it. I don't know if he can [fix it], but he needs to try."
This passionate rhetoric will no doubt ruffle a few feathers in Wolfsburg, but some of Winterkorn’s past statements regarding Alfa Romeo may have been a little close to the bone:
“It’s a beautiful brand but there are quality issues with the engines and suspension systems for example…I’m quite sure we [Volkswagen AG] could make a beautiful brand out of Alfa again.”
Winterkorn was, however, careful to point out that Volkswagen didn’t have any concrete plans to acquire Alfa Romeo and that the firm would only consider making an offer if Fiat deemed it fit to do so.