Open-Minded Sergio Willing to Stick With Tech Partner; Could Play the Field, Though

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
open minded sergio willing to stick with tech partner could play the field though

Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne can see a beautiful future with partner Google, but there’s plenty of fish in the sea, you know.

Speaking in Windsor, Ontario, where Chrysler Pacifica minivan production recently kicked off, Marchionne called FCA’s Google fling the “first phase” of their relationship, but admits to wanting to keep his options open, Automotive News reports.

After desperately seeking a partner for ages, FCA just inked a deal with tech giant Google to jointly create and test a fleet of 100 Pacificas outfitted with autonomous driving technology.

After a successful first date, where do the two companies go from here? “We’ll see,” said Sergio.

Like a perpetual bachelor who dreams of settling down, only to feel suffocated by the restrictions of a commitment, Marchionne’s eyes remain open to the technology advantages offered by other suitors. Hitching the company’s wagon to a single provider isn’t a good bet for the future, he said.

“I’ve seen efforts by others to pre-empt what I consider to be a natural evolution of choices,” Marchionne said. “So making unequivocal bets with companies who are in that space today and effectively precluding the development with others is a very dangerous path, at least in our view.”

With nearly all automakers now pursuing autonomous driving technology (whether their customers demand it or not), established companies find themselves competing with high-tech startups for supremacy in the field of innovation. Getting ahead in the self-driving field means keeping an open mind and latching onto the newest technology, regardless of where it’s from.

Marchionne, like a first-year college student, says he’s wide open to trying new things and pushing the boundaries.

FCA is “exploring with people who are willing to explore with us, to allow us into their world, into what that outcome will look like,” he said.


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5 of 17 comments
  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 08, 2016

    Apple would be a better fit. Sergio needs to double down on the quality of FCA products. I don't think the newer entries that Chrysler has such as the 200 or Dart are bad but they are competing in a crowded field where the competition is better and the quality of the products are a known quality. I agree with past comments that Chrysler should have not started the relaunch of the 200 by overproducing them and then competing with the competition on fleet sales. I rented the previous generation of the 200 with a 4 cylinder which was not a bad car but it was not spectacular. Chrysler needs to address the problems with their automatic transmission along with other issues and they need to improve their customer service. I do agree with Sergio that FCA should outsource the production of their compact and midsize cars, but I think it would be a mistake to just ax the 200 and Dart and start over. Why not lower the price and improve the quality of these products. Outsource the production of these cars to Mazda, Mitsubishi, or another manufacturer. As for a midsize truck FCA would be better to not use Fiat products and rebadge a Mitsubishi Triton or the Mazda truck. Fiats do not inspire most Americans and most truck buyers will not accept a rebadged Fiat truck. Sergio needs to refocus attention on Jeep and Ram.

    • See 2 previous
    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on May 08, 2016

      @JimZ We own several Apple devices and I agree that Apple's software quality and invasive account-requirements of the past have not curried any recommendations from me. But I will say that Apple continues to be a work-in-progress. This from someone who actually owned an Apple IIe. When making a buying choice these days, we alternate in our choices between Samsung and Apple devices. Whichever is the best at the time we buy, is what we go with. Right now our phone of choice is the Galaxy S5 and our tablets the iPadAir and iPadAir 2.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 08, 2016

    Currently have an I Phone 5 and it is ok but I am open to a Galaxy. I know a few people who have switched to the I Phone 6 from a Galaxy and they prefer the Galaxy. My concern when Chrysler was taken over by Fiat was they would re-badge Fiats as Chryslers. I like Italian cars but they are not the most reliable. I had a girl friend years ago that had a Lancia which was a great handling car and had plenty of power but it was always in the shop. My older brother had a Fiat sedan years ago and it was a nice handling car but again it required constant maintenance and it was a rust bucket. I am sure the newer Fiats are better but they are not as reliable as Japanese or South Korean vehicles. Most car buyers would rather have a boring and reliable vehicle including me.

  • Azfelix From certain angles the bonnet appears oversized with respect to the rest of the car - like a skinny teenager wearing a bulky sweater nicked from her older sister's wardrobe.
  • Tassos This is way too god damned OLD, 21 years old to have all the necessary options you need TODAY. You need a 10 year old or less car. AND if you give us THIS POS, a 21 year old model, that is not even a LUXURY car, whoever pays $10k for a Golf, And I Do NOT care what anniversary it is (they are all UTTERLY INSIGNIFICANT) deserves to get this MOST UNRELIABLE AND COSTLY TO REPAIR OF ALL LOUSY ECONOBOXES< EVEN THE DOMESTICS AND THE KOREANS.
  • Tassos As you say, Toyota confirmed this on TUESDAY. Today is WEDNESDAY. Why is everything on TTAC held back one or more days before you tell us the NEWS when it is NO MORE THE NEWS?
  • MRF 95 T-Bird You can find a decent and far more stylish Audi TT or an S4 of a similar vintage for under $10k.
  • RHD "In all situations, the grip of the tires (225/40R18 front, 225/35R18 rear) brings with it road noise."Are the rear tires actually smaller than the fronts??!! Adding just a bit of sidewall would take care of the bumps and rough ride. I'm not a fan of BMWs, personally, but this is a very enjoyable car. There are times when driving a convertible is pure bliss, and with a bit of power it's fun as well. (And certainly a better drive than a gussied-up, overpriced German taxicab!)