Reports: FCA sees Ford, Toyota, VW as possible partners – Detroit Free Press
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is once again dialing up speculation about an eventual merger with a major automaker even though it doesn’t appear he is in serious discussions with any company.
Marchionne told reporters in Amsterdam earlier today that he sees Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen as potential partners for a “big” auto-industry merger, according to reports from Bloomberg News and Reuters.
Marchionne has been talking about inevitable need for consolidation in the global automotive industry for more than a year. Last year, Marchionne tried to force General Motors into merger discussions but was rejected by the automaker several times.
“The door has never been closed. The need to consolidate does not go away,” Marchionne told reporters Friday in Amsterdam, according to Reuters as investors gathered for Fiat Chrysler’s annual shareholder meeting.
Marchionne’s comments came just one day after John Elkann, who is chairman of Fiat and chairman of Exor, touted the benefits of a merger with a major automaker in a letter sent to Exor shareholders. Exor is FCA’s largest shareholder.
Still, a deal between FCA and another automaker is far from imminent.
“As we consistently have said, Ford has no plan or interest other than to continue to accelerate our One Ford plan, deliver product excellence and drive innovation in every part of our business,” Ford said in a statement.
A spokesman for Toyota declined to comment.
Marchionne said any transaction that takes place will not occur until after the company’s five-year strategic plan is completed in 2018.
“Someone else would have to carry it out,” Marchionne, 63, said according to Bloomberg.
Marchionne has said he plans to retire from FCA after 2018.
On Thursday, Elkann, the great-grandson of the founder of Fiat, told Exor shareholders that FCA believes it could save $10 billion annually in a merger with one of the industry’s “big guys.”
Exor, an investment fund based in Italy and controlled by the automaker’s founding Agnelli family, owns 29% of FCA.
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