* Volkswagen has time for Fiat to sell--VW Chairman Piech
* VW group sales up 16 pct in Jan-Feb to 1.2 mln vehicles
GENEVA/FRANKFURT Feb 28 Volkswagen AG
(VOWG_p.DE) Chairman Ferdinand Piech said Europe's largest
carmaker could nearly quadruple the annual sales of Alfa Romeo,
if current owner Fiat SpA FIA.MI sold the underperforming
Within five years, the German company could bring sales of
the Italian premium brand to nearly 400,000 cars, Piech said
late on Monday at the premiere of VW models at the Geneva auto
show this week.
So far though, Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has
refused to sell a brand he hopes to bring back to its former
glory in the days before Fiat bought Alfa in 1986.
"Volkswagen has time," Piech said in Geneva.
Alfa Romeo may have celebrated its centennial anniversary
last year with a 10 percent increase in volumes, but it still
only managed to sell about 112,000 cars.
The maker of the MiTo and Giuletta has for years tried to
boost its sales up to 300,000 only to fail dismally.
In a recent interview with Forbes, Fiat CEO Marchionne said
Alfa was a "money loser" in the seven years since he has been
at the company, adding: "I'm not sure if it ever really made
Piech also said clearly he did not plan for VW to raise its
near 30 percent stake in German truck maker MAN SE (MANG.DE)
and that VW would not tamper with the independence of either
MAN or Scania AB SCVb.ST.
The Swedish truckmaker is already consolidated in VW's
Separately, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said group vehicle
sales rose 16 percent in the first two months of this year to
about 1.2 million units.
Carbon fibre specialist SGL Carbon (SGCG.DE), which has
partnered with BMW (BMWG.DE) to produce the lightweight
material on an industrial scale for automobile use, said
Volkswagen took an 8.2 percent voting stake in the company.
(Reporting by Jan Schwartz and Christiaan Hetzner; editing by