Marchionne to Apple: Pick Me! Pick Me!

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
marchionne to apple pick me pick me

It seems Sergio Marchionne may be switching teams when it comes to shacking up with another company to build cars of the future, reports Bloomberg.

At the Geneva International Motor Show, the self-confessed Apple geek said that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would be well-suited to contract build a car designed in California.

“I would assume that we have the credibility to be one of the players they have looked at,” Marchionne said in Geneva. “There are parts of us that would be interesting for them.”

It’s no secret that FCA is saddled with debt. Its future is highly dependent on making a deal with someone … anyone … no matter how much fat the Sweatered One can trim. The aroma of a cash-rich Apple probably has Marchionne’s nostrils aflutter. And in order to make a deal happen with Apple, Marchionne said he’d be willing to operate under any terms the technology giant sets forth.

“Apple has a language, and you have to be able to speak that language,” said Marchionne. “Usually the industry comes into that dialogue with a high degree of arrogance as we know how to make cars.”

In addition to debt, FCA is behind many competitors when it comes to advanced technology, especially electrification and semi-autonomous tech. It only has two brands — Jeep and Ram — that have bright futures. And its exposure to South America is becoming more and more of a pressing problem. Negotiating a deal with Apple could help alleviate many of FCA’s pressures.

On the other side of Silicon Valley, Google parent Alphabet is much more interested in licensing its autonomous technology to other automakers. And even if it did shack up with an OEM for a contract build, we’re guessing the autonomous Alphagetti would taste more like kimchi than a thin-crust pie.

[Image Source: FCA]

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  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Mar 03, 2016

    They don't screw up all the tech. The U-Connect is pretty decent compared to some of the others I have used.

  • Voyager Voyager on Mar 03, 2016

    The Mazda MX5 - Fiat 124 combination should have opened Marchionne's eyes. Mazda has grown to become the car maker with Italian flair among its Asian colleagues. Instead of having Alfa drivers wait that long for a successor to the 159 and the Giulietta, FCA already could have been selling Alfas on Mazda underpinnings.

  • Jeff S I don't believe gm will die but that it will continue to shrink in product and market share and it will probably be acquired by a foreign manufacturer. I doubt gm lacks funds as it did in 2008 and that they have more than enough cash at hand but gm will not expand as it did in the past and the emphasis is more on profitability and cutting costs to the bone. Making gm a more attractive takeover target and cut costs at the expense of more desirable and reliable products. At the time of Farago's article I was in favor of the Government bailout more to save jobs and suppliers but today I would not be in favor of the bailout. My opinions on gm have changed since 2008 and 2009 and now I really don't care if gm survives or not.
  • Kwik_Shift I was a GM fan boy until it ended in 2013 when I traded in my Avalanche to go over to Nissan.
  • Stuart de Baker I didn't bother to read this article. I'll wait until a definitive headline comes out, and I'll be surprised if Tesla actually produces the Cybertruck. It certainly looks impractical for both snowy and hot sunny weather.
  • Stuart de Baker This is very interesting information. I was in no danger of buying a Tesla. I love my '08 Civic (stick), and it feels just as responsive as when I bought it 11 years ago with 35k on the clock (now 151k), and barring mishaps, I plan to keep it for the next 25 years or so, which would put me into my mid-90s, assuming I live that long. On your information, I will avoid renting Teslas.
  • RHD The only people who would buy this would be those convinced by a website that they are great, and order one sight-unseen. They would have to have be completely out of touch with every form of media for the last year. There might actually be a few of these people, but not very many. They would also have to be completely ignorant of the Hyundai Excel. (Vinfast seems to make the original Excel look like a Camry in comparison.)