Volkswagen to Buy Italy?

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While rumors of Volkswagen's imminent purchase of Alfa Romeo abound, industry analysts indicate the German industrial giant could have its eyes on something bigger.

You may have noticed two trends lately in global economics and the automotive industry. On the one hand, smaller European countries (Italy among them) have been falling on hard times forcing the European Union (largely funded by Germany and France) to bail them out. On the other, Volkswagen has been on a bit of a spending spree, with a particular penchant for buying Italian companies. Now industry insiders - citing supposed trilateral negotiations between government and corporate representatives - are forecasting that the two could be coming together.

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Having taken over Lamborghini, Ducati, ItalDesign-Giugiaro and the Nardo test track, expressed interest in buying Alfa Romeo from Fiat and hiring several Italian executives, the Volkswagen Group is apparently preparing to buy the entire country of Italy outright. With the annual revenues reported for 2012 by Volkswagen (Europe's largest automaker) eclipsing Italy's GDP, and its assets outweighing the country's national debt, the move could give the German automaker a foothold in Italian manufacturing while generating enough public goodwill to help it outflank Fiat in the increasingly competitive local market.

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