Volkswagen's chief executive said the automaker continues to pursue sales of non-core assets as it restructures in the wake of its diesel emissions scandal.
VW CEO Matthias Mueller also told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that the company is open to talks with rival automakers about smaller acquisitions or optimizing operations — but that a merger with another global automaker remains unlikely.
“We’re a big company and don’t have any interest in getting any more bloated," Mueller told the paper.
The interview followed reports that VW and Fiat Chrysler were discussing joint production of light-utility vehicles in Europe. Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne long called for a merger with a larger automaker, but the German company is instead focused on addressing the diesel controversy and bolstering its investment in electric systems and autonomous driving technology.
Instead, Mueller said that a new team was formed to help sell off one of its non-core assets. Those segments, overall, reportedly account for up to one-fifth of the company's revenue.
Volkswagen put high-end Italian motorcycle maker Ducati on the block but ran into problems when VW labor unions opposed the effort.
Some VW investors, meanwhile, reportedly hoped to see more dramatic moves — potentially including its Porsche, Audi or heavy-duty truck brands.
Although the company is open to any discussions, Mueller told the paper, "We're not going to let anyone tell us which decision to make."