Audi Reportedly in Talks to Purchase Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo’s 4C will continue to look as gorgeous as it does, even if it winds up being property of Audi.
Fiat is strapped for cash and the Volkswagen Group knows it. What’s more, VW can help. Over the years, German executives have made no secret of the fact that they’d like to add Alfa Romeo to the VW Group’s impressive portfolio of brands. The advances, however, have been met with a cold shoulder. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, in particular, has reacted harshly to VW’s praise for Alfa’s potential—which he largely has left untapped—with a firm “hands off.”
In the past two weeks, the fire surrounding the ailing brand has flared up again with a report from Wards Auto. According to the report, negotiations are taking place at the highest level in Ingolstadt and Turin, and that the deal could include Fiat’s Pomigliano plant and supplier Magneti Marelli. The official line from Audi and Fiat is that there is no truth to the rumor. And to our knowledge, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler and Sergio Marchionne haven’t met to discuss the subject as yet.
We believe there is some merit to the speculation, however. Our sources tell us that the Agnelli family could well be open to a sale of Alfa Romeo, Marchionne’s posturing notwithstanding. However, some of the details of the rumor don’t exactly jive with what we’re hearing in Germany. For example, the Volkswagen Group has shown no interest in taking over one of Fiat’s production sites. The brand is interesting, but its baggage isn’t. Audi also has no interest in purchasing Magneti Marelli. “Why would we take over a supplier?” an Audi source asked us rhetorically. That source at Audi believes, and we agree with him, that the rumor originates in Turin, intended as an elegant way to communicate that Magneti Marelli is for sale.
- Official Photos and Info: 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C
- Instrumented Test: 2013 Audi S8
- Instrumented Test: 2012 Audi TT RS U.S.-Spec
If the VW Group manages to acquire Alfa, it would make a lot of sense to integrate it into the Audi empire of brands, which includes Lamborghini and Ducati. In fact, Audi designers have been spending time to come up with strategies and concepts in case of a takeover. Alfa design can only profit from the departure of a styling language that has led to vehicles such as the MiTo, which, according to former BMW chief designer Chris Bangle, looks “like a squirrel that has been kicked in the balls.”
By Jens Meiners