One of the more interesting fall-outs from the Detroit motor show is the revival of stories over whether the VW Group is going to buy Alfa Romeo.

Just to recap, VW supremo Ferdinand Piech announced last year that if Alfa was for sale then he would be interested. But at Detroit, any talk of a sale was vigorously denied by Fiat chairman John Elkaan who reiterated the big plans in store for Alfa, including a US launch in 2012. Sergio Marchionne also denied that Alfa was for sale to our own Steve Cropley.

Nevertheless, it's a story that doesn't seem to want to go away, and you can't deny the appeal of Alfa to the cash-rich VW Group. Seat, remember, is VW's self-styled 'Spanish Alfa'. But the reality is that it has never really lived up to that promise. Nor is it currently breaking any sales records.

Piech admitted some years ago that Seat was purchased because it was a strong southern European brand, but he regretted that he didn't just launch one from scratch. So why not buy the real deal and get shot of Seat?

As for Alfa, despite the strongest model line-up for years, it can hardly be Marchionne's number one priority now that he has Chrysler to worry about. More cash in the coffers would also enable Fiat to purchase a bigger share in the US firm. What's more, Alfa's Pomigliano d'Arco factory near Naples is a periodic headache in labour relations.