Why didn't it work out?
For several years prior to his passing almost one year ago, former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne was very vocal about his intention to merge the automaker with another competitor. He knocked on the doors of several automakers, including General Motors, but its CEO Mary Barra was not interested. Jump ahead to today and we find that FCA’s proposed $35 billion merger with French automaker Renault appears to be dead, but a new report claims there’s still a possibility a deal can be reached.
While that’s taking place, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, has opened up about his own talks with Marchionne a few years ago and the revelations are, honestly, not extremely surprising. "Sergio (Marchionne) and I had a number of dinners together talking about this and whether Ford and FCA would be a good fit,” Ford told Automotive News on the sidelines of the EcoMotion mobility conference in Tel Aviv, Israel.
He added that the talks ultimately didn’t amount to anything because Ford had a different list of priorities than FCA did at the time. "The timing certainly wasn't ideal," he said. "We had our own issues and challenges ahead of us. I felt like it wasn’t going to help us solve those problems. If anything, it might have slowed us down.” However, Ford is not in any way against potential mergers or, in its case, partnerships.
Last January, Ford and Volkswagen announced a deal to build commercial vans and medium-sized pickup trucks together beginning as early as 2022. There will also likely be some technology sharing in regards to electric vehicles and mobility. The Ford scion also made very clear he believes in the importance of partnerships with other companies, not just automakers, in general.
"I think you’re going to see a lot more of what we did with VW,” he said. "There will be winners and losers in our business like you’ve never seen before. I think you will see companies looking for scale, because some technologies need to scale to be effective.”
Sometimes, new technologies for the auto industry are not always created by the auto industry, such as anti-hacking software. While the FCA-Renault merger is still up in the air, Ford’s comments clearly indicate additional alliances and mergers are yet to come.