Reports in the German press overnight suggest that Volkswagen has made overtures to Fiat Chrysler on the potential of a buyout.
According to German paper Manager Magazin, the major shareholders and owners of Volkswagen and Fiat - one and two in Europe respectively - have quietly begun discussions “of a complete or partial takeover”.
"Volkswagen's major shareholders, Ferdinand Piëch, the Elkann and Fiat Agnelli families as principal owners, and their negotiators, have already initiated discussions on the matter," the magazine said.
Along with adding Fiat Chrysler’s global sales to its own ledger, the magazine reports that Volkswagen is hoping to use Chrysler’s US network to boost flagging sales in the world’s second largest market.
Fiat has moved swiftly to respond, however, releasing a brief statement this morning that denies any such talks.
Fiat states that they have not held discussions with Volkswagen regarding a potential merger,” the statement reads.
Likewise, a Volkswagen spokesperson is understood to have today confirmed with business paper Reuters that it, too, is not engaged in any merger discussions.
"There are currently no M&A (merger and acquisition) projects on the agenda," the spokesperson. "We are now focusing on boosting efficiency across the group."
While rumours of the potential for a full Fiat Chrysler buyout are new, VW chairman Ferdinand Piech has a known desire to at least snatch up the Alfa Romeo brand - boasting of the potential to quadruple the Italian brand’s global sales.
That dream was shot down in 2011 when Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne told Britain’s Autocar: “As long as I am CEO of Chrysler and Fiat, Mr. Piech will never have Alfa Romeo”.