Rumour has it Audi is in negotiations with Fiat (parent company) over a possible purchase of Alfa Romeo. Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne has previously said he is not interested in selling, however, that feeling has apparently changed.
According to various international reports, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has been in talks with the Fiat boss. Sources close to the two say top-level negotiations are underway. This is despite the fact that official representatives of the companies have downplayed the rumours.
Fiat spokesman Richard Gadeselli has said the company doesn’t comment on speculative rumours, while Audi spokesman Juergen De Graeve has said there is no substance in the news.
It’s understood Alfa’s Pomigliano production plant is also being earmarked as being part of a deal. In its current state, the Pomigliano plant, which was originally set up in the 1960s to build Alfas, builds the Fiat Panda. However, if Audi bought Alfa Romeo it’s believed the plant would be used to build Alfas onces again.
Fiat is on the verge of completely taking over Chrysler, and a potential cash spike, such as the selling of Alfa, could allow Fiat to take up the final stake.
For Volkswagen Group and Audi, this wouldn’t be the first takeover of an exotic Italian brand. Volkswagen bought Lamborghini in 1998 and motorcycle company Ducati in 2012.
A takeover of Alfa Romeo could potentially be a good thing for the well-being of the Italian brand. Sales have been dwindling for the company for many years, especially in European markets. Volkswagen has a strong reputation both in Europe and abroad, and could help to liven up Alfa to some degree, as well as provide some of its technology and development expertise.
Despite the news, Marchionne has previously said he plans to introduce eight all-new Alfa models over the next three to four years. These models, which could include a new 166 of sorts to rival the BMW 5 Series/Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and a new SUV, are part of a plan to lift sales.
Other new models in the pipeline include a new convertible ‘Spider’ sports car, based on a joint project between Mazda and Alfa. The foundations of the project are based around the next-gen MX-5.