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March 8, 2017

GENEVA – VW CEO not open to FCA merger talks

Volkswagen has strongly rejected any suggestion it is open to merger talks with Fiat Chrysler.

Volkswagen has strongly rejected any suggestion it is open to merger talks with Fiat Chrysler.

"We are not ready for talks about anything," chief executive Matthias Mueller on Wednesday told Reuters at the Geneva show.

"I haven't seen Marchionne for months. We have other problems."

The news agency noted Marchionne had said on Tuesday, also at the show, Volkswagen could be an attractive prospective partner and may be interested in talks.

The FCA head is a proponent of car industry consolidation, and previously rebuffed by General Motors, which is selling Opel/Vauxhall PSA Group.

According to Bloomberg, Marchionne had said: "I have no doubt that at the relevant time VW may show up and have a chat." He added the PSA-Opel merger "threatens VW most, creating a No. 2 on its heels".

"The industry is moving towards consolidation," Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault, said in a Bloomberg TV interview at the show. "You're going to see more and more players trying to gain in terms of scale. It's logical because of all the investments we need to face."

Meanwhile, Opel chief Karl-Thomas Neumann told Bloomberg the merge with PSA "offers many opportunities" to share costs such as vehicle development and purchasing, adding: "We know we've got a lot of work ahead of us."

"We focus on what we have to do to reach our strategic goals," Mueller told Bloomberg in Geneva.

Last word from Marchionne (to Bloomberg): "The GM door was never open for me. I knocked and no one answered. Would I knock again? Why not, or at any other door?"

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