Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has earned our last several quotes of the day with recent controversial statements, so today we present him with the honor for a few choice words that have nothing to do with the United States government. Volkswagen has been sniffing around Fiat’s Alfa-Romeo brand for some time, as Herr Piech reportedly has the hots for the Italian brand. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn even said recently that
Alfa’s a beautiful brand but there are quality issues with the engines and suspension systems for example. I’m quite sure we could make a beautiful brand out of Alfa again.
For a while it looked like Fiat might be playing along with the interest, but recently Marchionne shot down talk of selling Alfa to VW. And he did so with the kind of acid-edged verbal shanking that makes TTAC smile and nod approvingly, saying
As long as I am CEO of Chrysler and Fiat, Mr [Ferdinand] Piech will never have Alfa Romeo. It’s hands-off. I told him. I will call him and I will email him. I’m not the one who bought Seat. He’s the one who bought it. I don’t know if he can [fix it], but he needs to try.
What do you do when a much larger firm comes sniffing around your prized (if troubled) brand? Kick them right in their own struggling brand, and in this case, Marchionne went straight for VW’s “Spanish Pontiac.” The jury is still very much out on Fiat’s grand Chrysler alliance experiment, but if it fails, it won’t be because Sergio Marchionne was scared of a fight.The guy’s talent for confrontation couldn’t be more obvious.