Numerous American media outlets have picked up on Manager Magazin’s claim that Volkswagen’s chairman, Ferdinand Piech, has spoken with members of the Agnelli family about combining the two companies, presumably with the larger Volkswagen firmly in charge. Mr. Piech is part of the family that controls Volkswagen, while Mr. Agnelli is part of the family that controls Fiat (through ownership of 30% of the shares). One version of the story has just the Fiat brand moving to Volkswagen, as FCA wants to focus on upscale vehicles. Fiat issued a press relies flatly denying the claim, but that did not stop its shares from rising and Volkswagen’s from falling. At least one analyst told Bloomberg that the rumor was “realistic.” Fiat is currently trying to establish itself more firmly as a worldwide company, building up its distribution channels and product lines, particularly in the Asia/Pacific region, and using the Jeep, Fiat, and Maserati..
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