To say that there was some speculation surrounding Volkswagen CEO MatthiasÂ MÃ¼ller’s response to a potential partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automotive would be a severe understatement.
MÃ¼ller said there had been no contact between he and FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, but he’d not ruled anything out. He seemed to have an indifference about the subject, which left plenty of room to let minds wander.
According to Automotive News’ Larry P. Vellequette, that’s not theÂ whole story.
Being at the conference, Vellequette saw and heard â€” through an interpreter, he saysÂ â€” the entirety of this soap opera episode play out.
Vellequette said MÃ¼ller and VW are too “preoccupied” dealing with the aftermath of the company’s diesel scandal, and had “no interest” in talking to Marchionne.
ButÂ what came next, MÃ¼ller mentioning Marchionne by name and saying the FCA CEO should talk to him directly instead of through the press, is up for debate, as Vellequette heard a certain tone in MÃ¼ller’s remark. From AN:
â€œIt would be very helpful if Mr. Marchionne were to communicate his considerations to me too and not just to you,â€� Mueller said a bit snippily. (Admittedly, the snarky tone I heard through a translator may not have been in the original German, but still … )
Here, MÃ¼ller isÂ not opening a door. Instead, the remark was a glove across Marchionne’s face, insinuatingÂ the FCA CEO didn’t have the nerve to talk to him directly.
MÃ¼ller does have a lot on his mindÂ now, so it only seems fitting he would have a short temper toward Marchionne. Even optimistically speaking, it’s unlikely FCA and VW will team-up, especially after the resounding “no” from MÃ¼ller.
Marchionne must have felt thatÂ slapÂ fromÂ MÃ¼ller, since he tried to break upÂ before the relationship even started.
[Image: Volkswagen AG/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)]