Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller shot down Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's overtures for a merger in blunt fashion this week. Mueller told Reuters at the Geneva Motor Show, "We are not ready for talks about anything ... we have other problems. I haven't seen Marchionne for months."

The unusually candid – and icy – response from one chief executive to another comes after Marchionne similarly pursued General Motors (again) this week. The FCA boss suggested GM might be looking for a new European partner as it prepares to unload its troubled Opel and Vauxhall divisions to PSA. A GM spokesman told USA Today that the company is not interested. Marchionne has been openly suggesting a GM merger since at least 2015, despite GM never reciprocating interest.

VW's "other problems," as Mueller notes, include legal proceedings, fines, recalls, and other issues related to its long-running diesel scandal.

Marchionne has long sought industry consolidation, arguing that automakers don't get a proper return on their investments in technologies, some of which are relatively similar. He's suggested sharing chassis and powertrain components could be a benefit to the collective auto sector. Skeptics argue FCA, which is smaller than GM, VW, Toyota, and others, needs a partner to survive, while its rivals already have the necessary scale to remain competitive.

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