Audi, Fiat squabbling over numbers and letters
Fiat has used the Q2 and Q4 like trim badges, identifying whether a company product has two-wheel or all-wheel drive. They did it with the Alfa Romeo 159 sedan, and they do it now on the Maserati Quattroporte S and Ghibli S Q4 sedans. Car magazine says Marchionne "may not be categorically opposed to selling the rights," but he absolutely won't do it to any fiefdom in the Volkswagen empire, which would leave Audi a jilted suitor.
Why is Sergio being so serious? VW Group CEO Ferdinand Piëch first starting waving torches on the bridge between the two companies when he said Alfa Romeo could sell four times as many cars if Volkswagen owned it, then burned the bridge when it continued to publicize its desire to buy Alfa Romeo. VW followed that up by throwing salt on the land around the destroyed bridge with its aggressive pricing in Europe during the worst of the car sales slump there, which Marchionne said was causing a "bloodbath." VW's final flourish was to set the river itself on fire, when a press officer said Marchionne wasn't qualified to head the European Automotive Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and VW would quit the organization if he did take the top spot. That is why, putting it optimistically, Audi looks to have a grim chance of getting the Q2 and Q4 marques from the Italian.
So long as he is in power, at least: Marchionne said he's walking away from the job in 2018. Audi might have a better chance bending the knee to, and generously rewarding, his successor.
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