The love story between FCA and Volkswagen continues, this time with a happy ending.
Even with Trump’s administration set to curtail US fuel economy standards, Volkswagen is still feeling the sting of the fines leveed against it following Dieselgate and is working hard to ensure that it meets impending new emissions restrictions around the world. Meanwhile FCA is having trouble with just about everything, and it’s been no secret that its CEO, Sergio Marchionne, has been looking for a partner to merge with. As Automotive News reports, that future may soon become a reality.
Following a back and forth game of telephone between the FCA executive and VW head Matthias Mueller via the automotive media, which previously resulted in Marchionne claiming he didn’t care if a merger happened or not, AN now claims the FCA boss will pursue the merger. Marchionne has previously been in favor of a merger between his company and another global automaker in order to cut research, development, and production costs, which are set to increase dramatically as automakers invest heavily in electrification and autonomous vehicles. Marchionne previously cited the fact that PSA took over Opel and Vauxhall as a reason the merger would be wise.
He claimed, “If you were the No. 1 automaker in Europe and somebody combines with another automaker to become the second and gets very close to your position, your very first reaction is to distance the second again. We are the only natural combination partner for somebody who wants to do that. If you were playing a chess board game, that's what you would do.” Muller responded to the comments mentioning he hadn’t heard from Marchionne on the matter but would not be opposed to the deal. Marchionne, previously commenting he had no interest in the deal, has now backtracked on his previous statements following some time to mull over the issue.
He said, "There are 4-5 of us (carmakers) at the global level, if something needs to be done, it will be done. I haven't seen Mueller in 6-7 months, but I will go find him at the first opportunity.” He also told journalists at the Geneva Motor Show that FCA is “waiting with anticipation.” We’re happy that the back and forth between the two may be morphing into a business deal, the likes of which would certainly be big enough to cause an upheaval in the industry and if luck is on our side, spawn some epic new cars. Imagine what Audi could do with an evolved version of the Giorgio platform or what Audi and Porsche’s recent top quality rankings could do for FCA’s bottom of the pack rating. A gearhead can only dream.