Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has been formed after Fiat SpA and its US Chrysler unit merged last year under the direction of Sergio Marchionne, the architect of the auto industry’s most important deal in more than a decade.
And, fuelling the rumors that say FCA is ripe to secure yet another deal, Marchionne claims the auto industry is still fragmented and ready for further consolidation. He is planning for the year the spin off into an independent company of its most iconic brand – luxury sports car manufacturer Ferrari – putting the $14 billion parent automaker in a position to command yet another combination. That’s because FCA is currently only the seventh largest global automaker and it could use a hand to “take down” Toyota from the No. 1 position or address its regional shortcomings – particularly in Asia and in China, the world’s largest auto market.
Automakers are being pressured from multiple directions today: the global auto demand is slowly creeping down, costs for development and production are constantly rising, authorities demand cleaner models, while customers want increased smartphone-like functionality and technology. The auto and technology industries are also now rivaling for the next big leap in the auto segment – self driving and connected vehicles.
Among the suitable candidates found by analysts and investors we can highlight Volkswagen AG, Ford and General Motors – all three fitting the criteria disclosed by Marchionne last year for a great business partner. Additionally, Mazda and Suzuki could be great regional partners, particularly because of their Asian strengths.