Volkswagen already has a plan in place for Alfa Romeo’s development should it acquire the marque from Fiat.
Rumours from Germany claim Alfa is likely to receive direct assistance from Porsche, which is developing a new flat-four engine for a new entry-level roadster that will sit below the Boxster.
That engine could be installed in mainstream Alfas, bringing a useful historical link to models such as the Alfasud and 33 and setting the brand’s cars apart from VWs, Seats, Skodas and Audis. Such a deal would benefit Porsche too, since it would increase the economies of scale on the motor’s production.
VW is said to view Alfa as a key potential asset in its bid to become the world’s largest car manufacturing group by 2018. It also has spare production capacity, notably at Seat’s Martorell facility.
A Fiat Group spokesman told Autocar that the firm has “drawn a line” under any sell-off. “We shut the door in their [VW’s] faces and now they’re trying to get in the window,” he said.
The spokesman also dismissed rumours that representatives, including VW chairman Ferdinand Piech and CEO Martin Winterkorn, met with local government representatives in the Lombardi region of Italy, where Alfa’s mothballed Arese plant is situated. “That is complete and utter fantasy,” he said.
Autocar understands that among the sticking points in any discussions would be the future of the Pomigliano plant in Naples (earmarked for the delayed next-gen Panda, but plagued by industrial relations issues), Alfa’s extensive and expensive classic car collection, and the Balocco test track.
At the recent Geneva motor show, Piech used VW’s press evening to predict that it could increase Alfa’s sales fourfold within five years. He also dismissed Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne’s insistence that the brand was not for sale, saying, “Volkswagen has time”.
Greg Kable, John McIlroy