According to Automotive News Europe, Volkswagen is keen on continuing its hungry, hungry hippo march through the automotive world. The report says that the German manufacturing giant has its eye on snapping up Alfa Romeo, even though parent-company Fiat has no intention of turning the brand loose.

The news comes courtesy of two unnamed, high-ranking VW officials who claim that the company has developed a serious taste for Italian as of late. Meanwhile, a similarly shadowy figure in the upper echelons of the Fiat kingdom says that Fiat won't sell Alfa Romeo to the Germans.

While the two companies appear to be drawing lines in the sand, Fiat has said that it wants Alfa Romeo to become a world-class luxury manufacturer. That includes selling upwards of 500,000 units per year by 2014 – nearly five times what the company managed to move in 2009.

So why does VW want Alfa Romeo? Nabbing the brand would be an easy way to help the carmaker in its quest to take down Toyota as the world's number one automaker. Dipping into the Alfa Romeo stable would also give VW access to a wealth of new front-engine, front-wheel-drive chassis options as well.

[Source: Automotive News Europe]