Sergio's Urge to Merge Falls Flat, Leads to Dinner for One

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
sergio s urge to merge falls flat leads to dinner for one

It’s often sad to witness the moment when an individual’s high hopes collide with a cold, antiseptic wall of reality. Though we should all aspire for more, the inescapable truth is that most of our dreams will end up dashed on the rocks.

This week it was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne’s turn — once again — to face rejection. Buoyed by PSA Group’s acquisition of General Motors’ European car divisions, Marchionne must have assumed that love was in the air and it would perhaps soon be FCA’s turn to go home with another automaker.

Unfortunately for Marchionne, one potential mate quickly burst that balloon in a fairly heartbreaking fashion.

Under Marchionne’s leadership, FCA has attempted to cozy up to General Motors before. GM, however, has always spurned those advances. Always the persistent one, Marchionne took advantage of his Geneva Motor Show appearance yesterday to let his domestic rival know FCA was waiting, and available.

“I never close any doors. I may shamelessly try and knock again … on the GM door or any door if I thought it was a good thing for the business. Absolutely, without even blinking,” Marchionne told reporters. “The desirability of GM as a potential merger candidate remains untouched.”

GM unloaded Opel and Vauxhall to strengthen its profitability, leaving many to wonder how a debt-laden FCA could make a merger seem at all attractive, despite the other automaker’s strong European presence. The General, no stranger to Marchionne’s boombox serenades, hasn’t taken up that offer.

It was Volkswagen, however, that delivered a thrust right through the heart.

In another moment of boundless optimism, Marchionne explained to Geneva journalists yesterday that Volkswagen Group’s new PSA-Opel threat could send that company on the prowl for a partner. When it does, FCA would be there with open arms.

“I have no doubt that at the relevant time VW may show up and have a chat,” Marchionne said.

After hearing this, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller slapped down the possibility with a not unexpected level of German curtness.

“We are not ready for talks about anything,” Müller told Reuters on the show’s sidelines, possibly while looking over his shoulder for an approaching sweater. “I haven’t seen Marchionne for months,” he added.

Not willing to leave it there, Müller dialed up the venom and made his company’s feelings crystal clear.

“We have other problems,” he said.

[Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg]

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3 of 22 comments
  • FreedMike FreedMike on Mar 08, 2017

    Seriously...FCA is ripe for the picking by some Chinese company who wants entry into the U.S. market.

  • Seth1065 Seth1065 on Mar 08, 2017

    Lets face it they will be bought if only for Jeep , there may not be much left after the buyer picks the scraps of todays FCA but some how the sweater will get out of this.

    • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Mar 08, 2017

      It's rumored that Sweater Bag Man nets a cool 100 million a year as an errand boy of the Agnelli family. The Ferrari offloading gave him some breathing room, for now, but he'd better figure a way out of the FCA debt-grip or he may be sleeping wid da fishes, not for nothin', soon.

  • Chris P Bacon Vinfast made a splash with their release here? I guess a thud can create a splash...
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  • Ajla It'll be hilarious if everyone adopts the Tesla charger except Nissan.
  • SCE to AUX This is not a race worth winning.
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