Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne has said he's open to extending his company's co-operation with Suzuki - even though their current engine deal has contributed to the Japanese firm's acrimonious falling out with official partner VW.
Suzuki and VW are currently at loggerheads after a formal partnership, which included each company taking a stake in the other, turned sour earlier this year.
Suzuki is reported to allege VW tried to suppress its interests by representing it as a subsidiary of the VW Group, while VW is said to have been angered when Suzuki signed a deal with Fiat for the supply of diesel engines.
The dispute is now with the ICC International Court of Arbitration, although a resolution could take two years according to experts.
Now Marchionne has fanned the dispute by suggesting he'd be interested in a wider partnership with Suzuki if the opportunity arose.
"We're going to continue to work with Suzuki, and move forward with them," said Marchionne. "I have a very good relationship with the Suzuki family. They are a small company but they make money. They are gutsy. I admire that."
Marchionne also re-iterated that he is not about to sell Alfa Romeo, which VW has been reported to be interested in acquiring.
"I meet with Martin Winterkorn from time to time, and it's true he came to me and said he was interested in buying Alfa, but I just told him it is not on the cards now," said Marchionne. "Alfa in VW's hands would not be Alfa."