Let’s fire up our imaginary time machine and visit the year 2011 when then-chairman Ferdinand Piëch said Alfa Romeo would flourish under Volkswagen’s umbrella by quadrupling sales to 400,000 cars within five years. The bold statement was made during an opening speech at the Geneva Motor Show a decade ago, and just a few short weeks later, VW was at it again.
The German automotive conglomerate suggested a VW-owned Alfa Romeo would receive Porsche engines, specifically a new turbocharged flat-four that went on to debut in the 2016 Boxster and Cayman. Alfa Romeo’s parent company promptly responded, with a spokesperson telling Autocar: “We shut the door in their [VW’s] faces and now they’re trying to get in the window.”
The very same British magazine now reports the VW Group attempted to buy Alfa Romeo once again in June 2018 to fulfill a long-standing dream the late Piëch had. Even though the former VW supremo no longer had any influence on the inner workings of the company, Autocar reports VW’s head honcho Herbert Diess “considered it his duty to follow through on Piëch’s request.”
Approximately three years ago, Diess apparently sat down and had a chat with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ then-CEO Mike Manley and asked him whether FCA would agree to sell the Alfa Romeo brand. Once again, the fabled Italian marque was out of reach for VW as Manley said FCA was not interested in parting ways with Alfa.
Fast forward to 2021, Stellantis says each and every brand in its portfolio will benefit from investments in the next 10 years. Yes, that includes even struggling brands such as Lancia and DS Automobiles. It also effectively means none of the automakers belonging to the world’s fourth-largest car manufacturers are for sale, so VW’s dream of owning Alfa Romeo won’t materialize in the foreseeable future, if ever.
Where would Alfa Romeo even fit in VAG’s vast portfolio? Perhaps as a more affordable alternative to Porsche, especially since the models from Zuffenhausen are getting more and more expensive. On second thought, Alfas would then clash with the high-performance Audi S and RS models. VW is a master of successfully launching the same car under different brands, so it would probably find a way to squeeze Alfa into the family.
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