Fiat eyes VW’s truck stakes

Speaking on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Fiat SpA’s chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, said that the Italian company was “more than willing” to buy Volkswagen’s stakes in European truck makers MAN and Scania.

According to German news agency dpa, Marchionne’s foray has not been an act of brinkmanship, but a serious overture in response to public pressure from Volkswagen executives to sell Fiat’s Alfa Romeo brand to the German company. At the last international auto show in Paris, Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech caused a stir by declaring his company’s plan to pursue Alfa Romeo. “Alfa is not for sale,” Marchionne answered in the Detroit. “We need to stop this nonsense.”

Fiat recently split off the truck and farm-equipment business into Fiat Industrial, including renowned brand Iveco. Combining Iveco, MAN and Scania would make Fiat a leading force within the transport industry.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen has unveiled plans to capture the international truck market.  VW owns a 29 percent stake in German company MAN and a 46 percent stake in Sweden-based Scania. The companies have been in talks to merge the two brands – possibly by transferring Volkswagen’s MAN stake to Scania, which would then take over MAN. “VW is pursuing ambitious plans,” Volkswagen’s chief executive Martin Winterkorn said in Detroit. “But we did not decide how to realise them yet.”

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