Tensions Rise Between Fiat and Volkswagen image

The rising tensions between Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne and VW CEO Martin Winterkorn might transform into a showdown.

Marchionne and Winterkorn are expected today to take part at a meeting held by the lobby group of the European auto industry at the Paris Motor Show. Over the past months, both Fiat and VW have threatened to quit the ACEA, the main cause being Marchionne’s leadership of the organization.

In July VW’s chief spokesman Stephan Gruehsem declared that Marchionne is not the right person to lead ACEA and said that the automaker plans to leave the organization. All the fuss started after Marchionne blamed the German automaker’s pricing strategy to create a ‘bloodbath’ in Europe.

“If Volkswagen, through its chief executive, thinks that it needs to do something, tell them to show up” at the meeting, Marchionne told reporters yesterday. “Fiat will leave the organization in protest if necessary.”

The two automakers also had some intense exchange of words regarding Fiat’s Alfa Romeo, which VW desperately wants to buy. Volkswagen was asked by reporters in the eve of the Paris show if it still has time to wait Marchionne change his mind concerning the brand. The answer came quickly: “We have time.” Since the Paris auto show in 2010 VW expressed its interest to purchase Alfa Romeo, saying that Fiat was doing to well to part with the brand.