Volkswagen, Alfa Romeo logos

Apparently according to a number of news articles over the past week, Volkswagen is on an acquisition binge and it has heavy interest in acquiring Alfa Romeo.  Reports have detailed unnamed sources at VW who have admitted that a team has been put together to develop potential strategy and future models for the Alfa brand.

Other anonymous sources at Fiat have reported that they have no intention of selling the brand to VW.  What remains to be seen is whether they have intention of selling the Alfa Romeo brand, or just no intention of selling to VW.  Reports haven't specified this, and the statements read to be very clear about the VW part.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has previously laid out plans to transform Alfa into a “full-line premium carmaker”, increasing unit sales from 102,000 last year, to 500,000 in 2014.  In the plans are six new model launches, including two SUVs.  This would certainly come at the expense of German car sales, so maybe VW sees these plans as realistic and is concerned about loss of sales.  

Certainly Volkswagen is a very successful multi-brand company, selling everything from economy cars to luxury sporting models like Audi as well as large commercial trucks and vans.  Where they haven't been so successful, however, is with their Spanish brand Seat, which sells mainly in the home market and is has been bleeding market share.  Seat doesn't carry nearly the cachet, history, or brand awareness of Alfa Romeo, which could fill a very important spot in VW's lineup.  

Fiat's own plans for Alfa Romeo are to fuel growth by expanding the lineup, positioning it as more of a luxury car brand and adding two SUVs.  Yikes.  The sporting heritage of Alfa Romeo comes from its success in racing, and producing wonderful sports cars throughout the first sixty or seventy years of the company's existence.  Fiat's plan might grow sales, but there goes history.  

VW, however, seems to recognize the history of the brand, and from all published reports it appears that they would look to transform Alfa Romeo into a successful sporting brand again.  There is quite a bit of synergy between the Alfa and VW platforms, after all they are both front-wheel-drive cars with relatively small displacement motors.  This is what they tried to do with Seat, and failed, however no one outside of a small radius of Spain has any awareness of who Seat is.  Alfa carries a much larger following worldwide.  Maybe VW would be a better caretaker than Fiat.  Who knows?

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