It’s no secret that Volkswagen’s chairman of the board, Ferdinand Piëch, is after Fiat’s Alfa Romeo, and possibly even Ferrari, brands. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn as well as Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne recently said that VW’s dream of buying the two storied Italian marques is just that.
At a press event in Turin, Italy, Winterkorn is quoted by Ansa Newswire saying buying Alfa Romeo “is just a dream” for the German giant, putting the kibosh on Piëch’s insistence to monitor and eventually buy the brand. Piëch’s previous comments show buying Alfa Romeo was an actual goal of his to add Alfa to VW’s already formidable stable of brands.
“We are patient and have time…you won’t hear anything in the next two years,” Piëch told Reuters in early October about his plans to buy Alfa Romeo. VW design director Walter de’ Silva also admitted he’d like a shot at Alfa, calling it his “secret love.”
Marchionne countered Piëch at the Paris Motor Show telling the press to “let them [VW] wait.” At the event in Turin, however, he echoed Winterkorn’s comments that buying Alfa Romeo is just a dream for VW, insisting the brand isn’t for sale.
Alfa Romeo is one of a handful of brands under the Fiat stable Marchionne is trying to turnaround. His business plan for the brand includes a return to the U.S. in volume after the brand left in 1995 with planned global sales of 300,000 units per year by 2013. Those are the figures Alfa needs in order to turn a profit again, a rather ambitious goal given how Alfa Romeo only sold around 102,000 vehicles last year and posted an estimated loss of $410 million according to an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in London.
Marchionne’s ambitious plans prompted a senior VW executive to tell us “if one of his key plans falters, we will be there to pick up the pieces.” New reports out of Europe indicate that VW’s plan to “pick up the pieces” might have been more about sports car maker Ferrari rather than Alfa Romeo. Germany’s Manager Magazin reported that Ferrari has been Piëch’s real target all along, citing unidentified industry observers.
No matter Piëch’s ultimate goal, his desired Italian acquisition has been dubbed a dream by VW CEO Winterkorn himself. We have to say, buying Alfa Romeo and Ferrari is one hell of a dream.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)