Let’s see if FCA can climb out of its hole one Challenger Demon and Giulia Quadrifoglio at a time.
Neuroticism and being the leader of one of the world’s largest automakers are two things that should not be synonymous, but Sergio Marchionne seems to have little issue allowing the two to coexist. The executive, who is only years away from retiring, has tried to sell off his troubled and indebted car company to any large automaker who will place a bid. This has previously led to vague mentions of a merger with Volkswagen that led to a back and forth but never materialized into a deal.
According to Bloomberg, the 64 year-old executive has now reverted back to his shell, tired and defeated after digging up no takers in his quest to do away with FCA’s financial and legal woes. "We need to be very careful that we don’t start unrealistic dreams about consolidation as we are on our way to achieve historically important results and a debt-free position," Marchionne told investors during an annual general meeting. "We are not at a point of time to discuss any alliance.” This position is a stark difference from comments the CEO made last month, which made it seem like he was much more optimistic about combining forces with other companies.
After a back and forth game of telephone between Marchionne and Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller via the automotive and financial media, FCA’s head said he would seek out a partnership between the two automakers, one that would benefit the company by helping rid it of debt. It would also help Volkswagen by lessening the threat of PSA’s growth now that the French automaker has taken over Opel and Vauxhall and become Europe’s second largest automaker. With Marchionne’s 2019 retirement date looming, the CEO wants to leave FCA without a red cent and will attempt to do so by cutting costs where possible and boosting revenue.
While FCA’s first quarter wasn't stellar, Marchionne references the retooling of various factories as the cause of the holdup. With new vehicles on the way from revived brands like Alfa Romeo, he hopes the company will be raking in more cash by 2019. For now, a merger seems unlikely to happen, but it doesn’t mean FCA can’t partner with large tech companies such as Google to split the cost of bringing new technologies to fruition. With a lineup loaded with exciting options, we wish FCA nothing but the best.