Ford, FCA, and Merger Talk at the Dinner Table
Last week’s sinking of the proposed merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French automaker Renault may not be the final word on that story, but a tie-up between FCA and a rival domestic automaker is definitely not on the table.
It once was, in an informal sort of way. And that table was the dinner table — one populated by Ford chairman Bill Ford and late FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne.
With the FCA-Renault drama serving as a backdrop, Bill Ford spoke to Automotive News about the dance that took place between the two automakers.
“Sergio [Marchionne] and I had a number of dinners together talking about this and whether Ford and FCA would be a good fit,” Ford said at the EcoMotion “smart mobility” conference in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Ford didn’t say when the dinners took place, but it sounds like it wasn’t all that long before Marchionne’s death last summer. A few years ago, Marchionne attempted to find merger partners in General Motors and Volkswagen, to no avail. Earlier this year, Ford forged an allianc e with VW.
“The timing certainly wasn’t ideal,” Ford continued. “We had our own issues and challenges ahead of us. I felt like it wasn’t going to help us solve those problems. If anything, it might have slowed us down.”
While the speculative Ford-FCA merger was ultimately deemed impractical, Ford clearly isn’t shy about pursuing partnerships of its own. Teaming up on new technologies is the hottest trend in autodom right now. So much so, that Daimler and fierce historical rival BMW are now going halfsies on mobility.
“I think you’re going to see a lot more of what we did with VW,” Ford said. “There will be winners and losers in our business like you’ve never seen before. I think you will see companies looking for scale, because some technologies need to scale to be effective.”
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