FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen, Fiat and Fiat's controlling shareholder all denied a German magazine report that the companies have discussed a possible merger.
VW has held talks with owners of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles about a possible merger, the German magazine Manager Magazin reported today, citing unnamed company sources.
Fiat's owners want to shift their focus to the Ferrari brand and quit the volume automotive business, the publication said in a report, without being more specific. The Chrysler division could help VW in the United States, where the automaker has struggled to keep its sales momentum, the report said.
However, a VW spokesman said it currently had no takeovers on the agenda as it was focusing on improving efficiency at the group. The Agnelli family's holding firm Exor, which owns a 30-percent stake in Fiat Chrysler, denied any talks had taken place, as did Fiat.
A Fiat source told Automotive News Europe that the company is not aware of any meeting between its shareholders and management with VW Group representatives.
Manager Magazin said VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech, who is a member of the Porsche family that controls VW, has held various talks with associates and members of the Agnelli family.
There are a number of obstacles to any deal, including finances and divergent strategies pursued by both Fiat and Volkswagen, the magazine said.
Gabriele Gambarova, an analyst with Banca Akros in Milan, said: "We deem the news realistic."