Dan Istitene/Getty ImagesBEIJING (Reuters) – Ford Motor is not interested in a tie-up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Chief Executive Mark Fields said on Saturday, when asked about FCA head Sergio Marchionne’s remark that Ford could be a potential merger candidate.
“I can’t speak to what Sergio or others wake up and want to say,” Fields told reporters ahead of next week’s Beijing motor show.
After being rebuffed by General Motors last year, Marchionne said last week that Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen are the only remaining merger candidates for FCA.
Marchionne has long called for mergers among large automakers to help diffuse development costs for advanced cars that pollute less.
Fields largely reiterated a written statement Ford issued last week, saying: “I can just say we have no interest other than executing our plan, delivering product excellence and driving innovation in every part of our business. That is our sole focus.”
Speaking in Beijing, Fields said the company sees 23.5 million to 25.5 million vehicle sales for the overall Chinese market this year, representing flat to slight growth over 2015.
Fields declined to give a target for Ford China sales for this year. However, Ford’s China sales gained 14 percent in the first three months of the year to 314,454 units, outpacing 6 percent growth for the overall market.
The U.S. automaker has been locked in a dead heat for fifth-largest in passenger car sales with Toyota and Nissan in China, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers statistics. It overtook the Japanese automakers in sales for the first quarter this year after finishing behind for 2015.
Ford makes cars in China through joint ventures with Chongqing Changan Automobile and Jiangling Motors.
“We have a lot of confidence in the medium- and long-term over the continued growth in the China market,” Fields said.
(Editing by Tom Hogue)