Sergio Marchionne, the well known out-spoken leader of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, the seventh largest automaker in the world, recently acknowledged to have met with the leaders of Tesla Motors and Apple.
Marchionne met both Tesla co-founder and chief executive officer Elon Musk and Apple chief executive Tim Cook during a recent trip to California, where recent developments of the automotive industry have put it on a collision course with technology giants such as Apple. Marchionne said he was extremely impressed with Musk’s developments, in a visit between CEO’s of rival companies that is not very common in the industry. But then again, Marchionne has been very vocal about the need of further consolidation across the auto industry to lower operating costs – and Tesla would, technically, be a feasible candidate for a partnership in the field of green vehicles, where FCA has remained behind the competition.
As far as his meeting with Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook, he only commented: “He’s interested in Apple’s intervention in the car, that’s his role,” and refrained from elaborating further. Apple has been reportedly implicated in a secret project that would bring to life a car, most likely fully electric and also possibly at least semi-autonomous. The company has been also striving to implement its iOS operating software into autos through the CarPlay system, which allows for seamless driver access to the functions of the owner’s iPhone while focusing on driving. Numerous automakers have been mulling deeper collaborations with both Google and Apple even as many industry executives, analysts and experts deem them as possible competitors on the long run.