It was an issue that vexed journalists at the Detroit Motor Show: was Fiat Group chief Sergio Marchionne being mischievous when he said the Italian company was interested in acquiring Volkswagen's heavy truck businesses.

Observers were not sure whether Marchionne was serious or this was a joke. During a round table event with journalists Marchionne appeared to be make light of the idea when responding to a question about VW's move for Alfa Romeo last year.

The idea has certainly been knocked on the head by VW's supervisory board chief Ferdinand Piech who told the Financial Times Deutschland that his company does not intend to sell its Scania and MAN truck business to Italian Fiat.

Last September Piech said that VW wanted to acquire Fiat's sporty Alfa brand. When Fiat rejected the idea, Piech responded that VW was ready to wait for it.

Currently, VW controls, 10 automobile brands, including Porsche, and holds stakes in Japanese Suzuki and in German MAN.