By on May 30, 2012

Fiat’s John Elkann (not the one with a penchant for camo Ferraris and MTF escorts) put to rest any notions of Fiat acquiring a stake in Mazda, despite collaborating on some of their most iconic products.

Automotive News reports

“We have no plan to buy a stake in Mazda,” Fiat Chairman John Elkann said on the sidelines of the annual shareholder meeting of Exor, the Agnelli family’s investment company through which it controls Fiat and Chrysler.

Elkann did say that the company plans to increase its stake in Chrysler by 3 percent in July, to 61.5 percent, with 100 percent ownership occurring at an unspecified date in the future. How Fiat and Mazda plan to carry out their “alliance” without Mazda being absorbed in some way by Fiat is a great unknown. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect things to change very quickly given Mazda’s precarious financial situation and the way “plans” can change with little notice.

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8 Comments on “Fiat’s Elkann Says No To Mazda Stake...”

  • avatar
    kid cassady

    That second link goes to a malignant virus page.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    How Fiat and Mazda plan to carry out their “alliance” without Mazda being absorbed in some way by Fiat is a great unknown.

    Really? Fiat collaborated with Saab and didn’t absorb Saab….

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Lots of companies work together on projects without buying each other.

      I think what they’ve announced so far explains it: Mazda is developing a new Miata as part of their product line overhaul. They will share much of what they come up with Fiat. Obviously, NDAs will be in place. They will all be made at the Mazda plant. It’s good for Mazda because I’m sure Fiat will pay some amount of cash for the engineering work (and assembly labor), and the factory will be more efficient since it won’t be underutilized. Fiat is benefitted because they won’t have to use their own resources to do the engineering work, and they will probably get results faster through Mazda. Also, they don’t have to retool any of their factories for the new car.

      It’s also being discussed that Mazda will move production to Fiat’s underutilized factories. That’s great for Mazda since it frees them from the high yen, and it’s good for Fiat since it makes their factories more efficient (same as for the Miata factory).

      Now, this doesn’t address strategy if Fiat wants to use Mazda as a gateway into Asia. That’s a much trickier proposition–it’s unlikely Mazda would really play along with that if they don’t have to (i.e., they really need the money or Fiat controls the company). But, that’s all speculation at this point since they have only agreed on the roadster for now and are still mulling additional partnerships.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I think you need to read the statement more carefully. I don’t think anything is ruled out, nor is he binding FIAT for the future.

  • avatar

    It’s hard to buy something that you don’t have the money to buy anyways.

    And Mazda is funded by Sumitomo — Mazda is a small fish, Fiat is a bigger fish, Sumitomo is a whale.

  • avatar

    I noted this the other day, there is a lot of overlap between Mazda and Fiat. They can cooperate on a roadster, but the other stuff noted in that post? It doesn’t seem likely.

    While Mr. Elkann isn’t dismissing the idea entirely, his view seem less than favorable to the idea. Additionally, other folks have covered other downfalls in this scenario in the posts above.

  • avatar
    Lynn E.

    We are only talking about cars here. Doesn’t Fiat make real trucks – not toy (PU)trucks? What about Mazda and their owner Sumitomo – do they make any trucks? Any sharing of parts there?

    Can you writers at TTAC recommend a good web site that does for the truck business what you do a wonderful job of for the world wide car business?

  • avatar

    Fiat could still maintain a strong alliance with Mazda without absorbing them – even Ford, at their greatest extent, only owned about 1/3 of the company (which was still enough for veto power on the board, but certainly well short of total absorption). If all they want is a strategic partner and collaborator, why spend money on a buy-out if they don’t have to?

    Also, I keep reading that Fiat plans to take 100% ownership of Chrysler in the near future, while also reading other reports that Marchionne wants to ultimately take Chrysler public. Since those two plans would seem to be complete opposites, which report is right? Both somehow?

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