For more than two years, Volkswagen has been making public statements about its willingness to buy Alfa Romeo and quadruple the Italian brand's sales, and for just as long, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has replied with some version of "Mr. Piëch, drop it." According to a report in Ward's Auto, all that jousting might be over: it claims that sources close to both Marchionne and Audi CEO Rupert Stadler admit that the two are in talks for Audi to buy not just Alfa Romeo, but a production plant in Italy. In fact, a final deal could possibly include partsmaker Magnetti Marelli.

Against that backdrop, a report by German news weekly Stern quotes a Fiat spokesmen as saying it doesn't comment on rumors and an Audi rep has said flatly that "There is no substance in the news." If a sale is being arranged, the timing would seem to point to how eager Fiat is to raise cash to complete its major initiatives. Even though Alfa Romeo continues to delay its return to the US, it just showed off the production version of the 4C at the Geneva Motor Show (shown above) and said that preferred Fiat dealerships here would get them. Then there's Alfa's recently concluded deal with Mazda to develop a roadster based on the next generation MX-5 Miata – a deal that would seem to help both the Italian and Japanese brands.

The monetary issues are troublesome, though. Fiat is taking a beating in the European market and its weak-kneed balance sheet is delaying gotta-have-it products like the Jeep Cherokee. Fiat has been talking to banks about getting money to buy the rest of Chrysler and those financial institutions have also raised issues about debt and cash reserves, and the nasty game of chess Fiat is playing with the United Auto Workers (and now the court system about the portion of Chrysler it doesn't own) could end up blowing another hole in Marchionne's plans. It is possible that this could finally have convinced Fiat to at least see how serious Audi's parent company, Volkswagen, is about buying Alfa Romeo. Or it could be just another rumor.

Beyond Alfa Romeo, the report says the deal being discussed would include the rather modern Pomigliano d'Arco plant built just for the production of Alfa Romeos. Audi's interest in Magnetti Marelli is claimed to be because the German brand wants a components maker and it would also like to establish an R&D center in Italy, where its holdings already include Lamborghini, Ducati and the styling house Italdesign-Guigiaro.


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  • 76 Comments
      ThomasP
      • 2 Years Ago
      Please, god, no.
      mdstew06
      • 2 Years Ago
      Next the VW Group will be buying Wirlpool and Sears! And after that, The White House.
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Perhaps that's why they took the italian flags off the mirrors for the latest show car?
      RJC
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think I speak for all fans of Italian marques, the krauts can have Alfa when they can pry the gear shift from my cold, dead hands.
      Levent Alam
      • 2 Years Ago
      Alfa design with German quality and precision. Can't beat that! Hope it happens. After Ducati, why not?
        A P
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levent Alam
        German quality?????????? What is that?
          Lachmund
          • 2 Years Ago
          @A P
          such a sad troll you are
          quuppa70
          • 2 Years Ago
          @A P
          what troll?? its fact, read about TSI engines etc etc
          dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @A P
          German quality refers to the best coffee and bagels you will ever have while standing on the travertine tile in the BMW/Audi/Benz stealership service area as you await the next 4-figure repair bill.
      ferps
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Euro is far more effective than Hitler ever was.
      RGT881
      • 2 Years Ago
      VW owning the Alfa Romeo brand would be the ultimate embarrassment to Fiat. Unfortunately though Alfa Romeo has been making rather poor products for ages now with exception of the 159. Even the 8C Competizione isn't that good. So while it'd be nice to see Alfa stay Italian, I do believe that Audi would do a better job of turning the company around. Can't speak for Fiat's cash position, but I believe something ugly happened within the past 3 months that we don't know about.
        Shiftright
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RGT881
        I'd rather see Alfa die than go to the Germans. Anybody but the Germans
      Jackie Ashley Wolf
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's hope it never happens. Audi would RUIN the brand.
        erzhik
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jackie Ashley Wolf
        Like they ruined Lamborghini, which is now making record sales and insane styling?
          Lachmund
          • 2 Years Ago
          @erzhik
          the aventador proves you wrong
          quuppa70
          • 2 Years Ago
          @erzhik
          its not anymore italian car, made of german parts, few years ahead and its as dull as other german cars,
      mic414
      • 2 Years Ago
      As an Alfisti, I truly hope this is not true. I agree that they didn\'t ruin Lamborghini, but that is a totally different case. You can\'t put the Aventador on the Golf platform. Not even sure why VW would be interested, they pretty much cover every market segment as is. What would they do with Alfa? Make it a competitor to their own Audi brand?
      iscussion
      • 2 Years Ago
      The world does not need more rebadged VW Golfs.
      spinftwin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Somebody stop VW before they take over the world!!!
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ugh. I so hope this is not true. Please let it be an early April Fools joke.
        Shiftright
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        I'm hoping...VW Group (AKA the 80's GM of Europe) will make it another platform/ engine sharing exercise ala Seat, Skoda et al. The magic will be all gone
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