VW News Combo: Volkswagen wants to buy Alfa-Romeo and recruits Mr Opel

AiR

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We don't have a thread on VW's courting of FIAT for Alfa, what do FG think? Good idea or worst idea?

Volkswagen wants Alfa Romeo, but Fiat doesn't want to sell
Fiat S.p.A. is refusing a new round of Volkswagen AG overtures to buy its troubled sporty Alfa Romeo brand, company sources told Automotive News Europe.

VW is on an acquisition spree to help its bid to topple Toyota Motor Corp. as the world's No. 1 automaker. Asking not be named, two VW executives have confirmed that VW, Europe's largest automaker, is ?seriously interested? in buying Alfa.

But a high-placed Fiat executive told ANE on condition of anonymity earlier this month: ?We have no intention at all of selling the brand to VW.?

Then Monday, after new rumors emerged about VW's interest in Alfa, a Fiat spokesman said the company is sticking to a turnaround plan for Alfa announced by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne in April.

Marchionne said then that he wants to transform Alfa into a ?full-line premium carmaker? selling 500,000 units in 2014, up from 102,000 last year, helped by six new model launches.

In April, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn told reporters that he admires Alfa, but said the VW group, which is in the middle of taking over sports car maker Porsche, is not planning to add another brand.

In recent years, VW has recruited former top Alfa executives Walter de' Silva as its design chief and Luca De Meo as marketing boss. It also owns Italian supercar maker Lamborghini and took a 90 percent stake in Italdesign Giugiaro earlier this year, but Winterkorn said: "Our appetite for buying in Italy is fully satisfied."

Winterkorn's statement was clear, but there are a number of other Alfa fans in VW's Wolfsburg headquarters, such as VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech, as well as de' Silva, who was Alfa's design director before joining VW in 2000 and De Meo, who was CEO at Alfa before joining VW last summer.

Analysts are skeptical about whether Alfa can reach Marchionne's ambitious target of 500,000 annual sales under Fiat.

?Maybe Alfa could get to a half million unit sales a year, but only after the brand is sold to Volkswagen,? Arndt Ellinghorst, global head of automotive research at Credit Suisse, told the Automotive News Europe Congress in Bilbao, Spain, in June.

Massimo Vecchio, head of industry research at Mediobanca in Milan, said: ?Alfa plans to sell 85,000 units in the United States in 2014, therefore Fiat's plan really means it wants to boost sales in Europe from 100,000 units to more than 400,000. I do not see how they will be able to steal so many buyers from their German competitors.?

Fiat does not report separate financial results for its brands, but sources say Alfa has lost between 200 million euros and 400 million euros a year over the past 10 years.

Rumors of a possible sale of Alfa to VW surfaced first in Turin and Wolfsburg late last year. The buzz has not died down despite VW's and Fiat's repeated denials that a deal is in the works.

Volkswagen is often considered by analysts to be the most successful multibrand car company in the world, selling everything from VW Golf hatchbacks through luxury sedans from Audi to 16-ton Scania tractor trailers.

Yet VW's biggest problem remains Seat, a Spanish brand that has failed to expand significantly outside of its domestic market, where it is also losing share.

Bernstein analyst Max Warburton wrote in December that technological similarities to VW's own model range could offer financial savings while handing the German carmaker control over arguably one of the European industry's most powerful names with a long and rich history in racing.

"VW might look at Alfa and see a brand that it could transform into something successful. The technological links and scale benefits are clear--Alfas are all front-wheel-drive, transverse-engine cars," he wrote, adding an Alfa MiTo or Giuletta could be built on a VW Polo and Golf platform.

"It's pretty simple in our view--VW could kill the Seat brand and re-launch it as Alfa. Former VW CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder used to say that he wanted to turn the (struggling) Seat brand into a 'Mediterranean, emotional, sporting brand--VW's Alfa Romeo,'" Warburton wrote.

"Rather than imitate, why not just actually become Alfa Romeo?"

VW spokesman Michael Brendel told Bloomberg News that the company doesn't comment on market rumors.

Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100823/CARNEWS/100829963#ixzz0xZ1UexJo
And Hans Demant, who has after 38 years at Opel earned the nickname "Mr Opel" is upping his stakes and leaving for Volkswagen.
Germany's Volkswagen hires top executive from General Motors, vice president Hans Demant

BERLIN (AP) - Volkswagen AG says it has hired the former boss of GM's German subsidiary Adam Opel GmbH to oversee development of its international projects.

The company said in a statement Tuesday that Hans Demant, currently General Motors Co.'s vice president for global intellectual property rights, will join as of October 1.

The automaker, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, said the 59-year-old will be in charge "of the coordination of international projects" without providing further details.

Demant was Opel's chief executive between 2004 and January 2010, when he was replaced by GM Europe president Nick Reilly.

Demant has been with Opel since 1972, where his responsibilities included product development and handling the company's small car production lines.

http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/market_news/article.jsp?content=D9HPRTF80
I think that VW would do a better job than Fiat at turning Alfa into a great success, and that's why Fiat won't sell it. Hans was probably not happy about being pushed aside by Nick the Clown.
 
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klankymen

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"VW might look at Alfa and see a brand that it could transform into something successful. The technological links and scale benefits are clear--Alfas are all front-wheel-drive, transverse-engine cars," he wrote, adding an Alfa MiTo or Giuletta could be built on a VW Polo and Golf platform.
Yeah, but they're not supposed to be, you berk!
 

argatoga

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Because what VW needs are more and more conflicting brands. The whole "buy everyone up to be number one" plan is a bad long term idea. It will be interesting how Stokes err Piech handles this.
 

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Or the Mexican built VW Alamo. Not a big seller in Texas!
It would be an even worse seller in Mexico, actually. A single 'victorious' battle by world-class professionals against 'rabble' consisting of a pickup force of undisciplined amateurs that cost you three casualties/deaths for every one enemy you killed, thus wiping out ~43% of your army isn't exactly something people generally celebrate. :p

And I'm pretty sure nobody in Mexico would buy a VW San Jacinto.
 
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Dr_Grip

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VW takes Over Alfa?

I look forward to their first joint venture, a compact 2 seat roadster called the Axis!
And the sports version will be called the "Axis Power".
 
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PelicanHazard

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Didn't Toyota blame recent quality control problems on its bid to be the biggest automaker? And VW thinks it smart to do the same?
 

argatoga

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Didn't Toyota blame recent quality control problems on its bid to be the biggest automaker? And VW thinks it smart to do the same?
Piech decided he wants VW to be the biggest car company by volume, so he will make it be. Is it necessarily good for the company? I don't think so. But this is Piech. The reason VW is still selling the Phaeton despite no one buying it is because he is too stubborn to kill it.

If he gets his way VW will be doing GM style badge engineering. Hell they already are as is. Once people realize that the only difference between an Alfa and a Skoda is the badge those sales figures will drop.
 

Labcoatguy

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It would be an even worse seller in Mexico, actually. A single 'victorious' battle by world-class professionals against 'rabble' consisting of a pickup force of undisciplined amateurs that cost you three casualties/deaths for every one enemy you killed, thus wiping out ~43% of your army isn't exactly something people generally celebrate. :p

And I'm pretty sure nobody in Mexico would buy a VW San Jacinto.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bunker_Hill

If the Navy can handle naming multiple ships after a "glorious" defeat, something called the Alamo could do well in the US.

I would strongly recommend against the optional leather interior in that car. :p
Completely gone over my head. Huh?
 

Spectre

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bunker_Hill

If the Navy can handle naming multiple ships after a "glorious" defeat, something called the Alamo could do well in the US.
The Battle of Bunker Hill wasn't an indiscriminate slaughter, and most of the losing troops were able to retreat. Not so much at the Alamo; total survivors were less than 6. The Alamo rent-a-car chain has been so successful that they've gone bankrupt a couple of times and have recently been bought by Enterprise.


Completely gone over my head. Huh?
Let's just say that recently they've discovered that some of the old rumors from WW2... aren't rumors. And that you probably don't want to be using any 'Axis Powers' soap, wigs, or fine leather goods...
 
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Labcoatguy

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The Battle of Bunker Hill wasn't an indiscriminate slaughter, and most of the losing troops were able to retreat. Not so much at the Alamo; total survivors were less than 6. The Alamo rent-a-car chain has been so successful that they've gone bankrupt a couple of times and have recently been bought by Enterprise.
Fair points. USS Bataan comes closer, if not quite Alamo level. Beyond that can't think of anything else.

Let's just say that recently they've discovered that some of the old rumors from WW2... aren't rumors.
Yeouch.
 
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