PARIS -- Volkswagen AG's group design director Walter de' Silva says he is ready to create a new Alfa Romeo range if the German automaker acquires Fiat's sporty brand.
VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech today acknowledged VW's interest in acquiring Alfa from Fiat, but added that nothing is on the front burner.
"We are patient and have time ... you won't hear anything in the next two years," he said in a Reuters story. PIech said Alfa has great potential for improvement and his design team already appears ready to take on the task.
"If Piech gets Alfa, we are ready," de' Silva said in an interview at the Paris auto show.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne dismissed any speculation he would sell Alfa.
Piech's comments were a challenge to Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, who has said he has no intention of selling money-losing Alfa Romeo.
"Let them wait," was Marchionne's reaction to Piech's comments.
Marchionne said Fiat will relaunch Alfa as a fully fledged premium automaker with an expanded lineup.
"I have no intention at all of selling Alfa," he told reporters at the Paris auto show.
De' Silva would still welcome the chance to work with Alfa.
"We have a number of great brands (within the VW group), but Alfa had always been my secret love -- and even my wife is no longer jealous about this," de' Silva said.
Formerly head of Alfa design before moving to VW Spanish subsidiary Seat 12 years ago, de' Silva denied press reports VW had already created a phantom Alfa range.
Talking together with Giorgetto Giugiaro, who in May sold 90 percent of Italdesign Giugiaro to VW, de' Silva said Alfa was a crucial brand in the legendary careers of both designers.
"My first complete design project was the Alfa 33 restyling," de' Silva said.
"My first production car was the Alfa Sprint 2600 I penned in the early 1960s while at Bertone," Giugiaro said.
He added that Alfa -- if relaunched by VW -- would not be a shame for Italy and Italians.
"Alfa is a great brand and the VW Group has adequate financial and technical resources to take it back to its past glories," Giugiaro said.