PARIS (Bloomberg) -- Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, irritated by comments from Volkswagen AG executives, invited the German carmaker to a dawn showdown at the Paris auto show as tensions rise between the two companies.
VW Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetsch said late Wednesday that "especially carmakers in southern Europe" may have trouble surviving the crisis without government aid.
Stephan Gruehsem, VW's chief spokesman, said in July that Marchionne was not qualified to head the ACEA lobby group and said the German carmaker was prepared to leave the association.
"If Volkswagen, through its chief executive, thinks that it needs to do something, tell them to show up tomorrow morning at 7 o'clock at our stand," Marchionne told reporters.
Fiat will leave the organization "in protest" if necessary, he said.
VW CEO Martin Winterkorn accepted Marchionne's invitation and will attend Friday's ACEA meeting at Fiat's exhibition space, spokesman Eric Felber said, adding that Volkswagen "sticks to our statement" that Marchionne should step down.