Deep Dive: Volkswagen Scheming To Buy And Transform Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo Volkswagen illustration

Alfa Romeo Volkswagen illustration

Before Fiat bought Chrysler, the Italians were attractive potential partners to suitors from all over the automotive world. This appeal was not only recognized by Opel, who later withdrew from the alliance and fell back into the General Motors fold. Around that time, Mercedes-Benz seriously considered Fiat for a strategic alliance like the one they've since entered with Renault-Nissan. On numerous occasions, Volkswagen Group put out their feelers, too, but Ferdinand Piech's squad was primarily interested in Alfa Romeo.

Now that Fiat is digesting Chrysler, it has become too big to swallow, and is probably no longer all that tasty either. But this has not diminished VW's appetite for Alfa Romeo. Quite the contrary: the Germans are closely monitoring what is going on in Turin and Detroit, and they are behind closed doors mapping out strategies for a possible acquisition of Alfa. Although Sergio Marchionne has repeatedly insisted that Alfa Romeo is not for sale, Piech is not known for taking "No" as an answer. But what would VW do with yet another brand at a point in time when overcapacity is a serious threat to the European operations of most volume car manufacturers?

2011 Alfa Romeo Giulietta

"At a glance, buying Alfa may not make much sense," admits a senior VW official. "But done right, it could be a win-win situation for both buyer and seller. At VW, we would use Alfa to replace Seat. Seat does not know what it wants to be. The fragile brand's value now ranks even below Skoda in most markets and the high fixed costs incurred by high-quality VW componentry will lead the Spaniards exactly nowhere. Alfa on the other hand is a much more valuable commodity, a name you can ask more money for. During the transition, there may be no alternative to badge engineering. But the next-generation Alfas would feature a combination of bespoke styling and VW engineering. While the demise of Seat would go almost unnoticed, the arrival of Alfa would have a big impact on the community and on our group."

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JPnyc
If anything, VW should buy LANCIA instead, to replace SEAT.I think Marchionne is all talk,. Seriously, what have we seen so far to come out of the Fiat - Chrysler alliance? The Chrysler Delta? Wows me away ...Or maybe the Germans just physically like being in Italy and are looking for an excuse to go there more often :)(Turin is a great city) Yep, that must be it!
TheHummel
VW has come a long way in reliability in recent years. Not saying its perfect, obviously it has problems and I'm not denying that, but the Consumer Reports reliability ratings you speak of have improved dramatically in the past two years. Still, simply sit in a VW, and the fit and finish immediately stands out as far above the competition. I've owned a GTI for several years and have never had any major problems. The interior is a good as new, and the mechanicals haven't needed anything other than routine work.I'm not a VW fanboy or anything, but I think VW is the right company to buy Alfa.
btc909
VW quality is garbage. "miss, your Jetta has no oil in it" I laughed when I heard that one.
Facelessdrone2005
Sorry, Hummel, beg to disagree. VW's build quality sucks and has for years, just read the reliability reports in Consumer Reports. This is a marriage of two unreliable brands. The result will be the safest car in the world (because it will always have a tow truck in front of it).
TheHummel
Yes. Yes. Yes. This is just what both brands need. Alfas, though being the objects of desire to many enthusiasts, have always had poor reliability and build quality. VW can help with that greatly, especially build quality.German Engineering + Italian Style & Soul = PerfectionAlso, VW is right to bring Alfa back to its sporty roots. SUVs are the wrong direction for Alfa. What people want to see are cars like the 2uettottanta concept; something good looking, fun to drive, and the envy of others. Not saying all the cars should be like that, because thats simply impractical, but SUVs are simply the wrong direction.Alfa Romeo should be known as a sporty, sexy, quality brand producing cars in the $20,000- $45,000 range. Theres too much competition making practical cars for it to be successful. It needs to be the go-to brand for enthusiasts. VW has the production capabilities, money, engineering, and most importantly, will, to make that happen.

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