CEO Sergio Marchionne couldn't get a date to the dance.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) didn’t have an awful 2015. Ferrari was spun off, bringing in much-needed cash to FCA ($4.4 billion) while making both companies more valuable. Alfa Romeo also showed some new life with the reveal of the simply stunning Giulia sedan. However, it wasn’t all roses for FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne. He very publicly campaigned to merge his company and GM, and he was very publicly rebuffed by the American automaker. He had some other options but ultimately it looks like the merger plan has been shelved.
The Italian-Canadian exec is now focusing on his ambitious plan to raise sales to seven million units by 2018 which is the year he plans to retire. The idea is to increase FCA’s value and thus its potential attractiveness as a partner in a merger. That means all talk of combining forces with another automaker any time soon is off the table, with Marchionne saying that if it happens “it won’t be me to do it.” But what about the other suitors who approached FCA? We’re any of them viable options? Apparently not. “We are not the only dummies in town. As long as there is a better alternative out there, we need to hold on and execute the plan to put ourselves in a better position to discuss it with the other party at the relevant time,” the CEO said.
The above comments were made last week in Milan, Italy, after the Ferrari spin off had been completed. The timing is important as 2018 is only two years away, which means FCA really needs to switch gears after potentially wasting the latter half of 2015 on fruitless merger talks with GM. Speaking (again) of the American automaker, Marchionne apparently met with CEO Marry Barra recently and, well, it didn’t go well. “I met Mary Barra less than a month ago in Washington. I don’t think I will have another coffee with her. It won’t happen again in the future.”