Ford, FCA, and Merger Talk at the Dinner Table

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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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.”

[Image: Ford]

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  • Steve203 Steve203 on Jun 11, 2019

    Marchionne must have really loved to waste people's time. Any combination of FCA and anyone with more than a nominal market share in the US would not pass anti-trust scrutiny. Any combination of FCA and anyone with a double digit market share in Europe may not pass the EU equivalent of anti-trust scrutiny. So, who does that eliminate: GM, Ford, VW, Toyota, Nissan, Honda. Daimler is small enough, but already was burned by Chrysler. Peugeot could have been a possibility. before they bought Opel, but now is probably too big. Toyota owns pieces of Subaru and Mazda, so those two are off the table. Renault would have been small enough, if not hooked up with Nissan. Who is left? BMW? Hyundai? With the trade war going on, the chances of the Chinese being allowed to buy FCA are a bit slim. Tata? Mahindra? The Indians are probably too small. The door might have closed on FCA merging with anyone. That would explain the desperation play to try and break the Renault/Nissan alliance so Renault, alone, would be small enough to take over. Then they could bleed Renault, the way Fiat, Lancia, Dodge and Chrysler have been bled and starved of new product, to support Ram, Jeep, Alfa and Maserati.

    • See 3 previous
    • Steve203 Steve203 on Jun 12, 2019

      @ect "One can never say never, of course, but I certainly don’t see the DoJ leopard suddenly changing its spots. Especially under the current Administration." Yes, indeed, you can never say never. Sinclair Broadcast Group is particularly friendly to the present administration, yet only a year ago, the FCC blocked Sinclair's acquisition of Tribune Broadcasting. In 2011, the DoJ blocked AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile, but, as you said, that was under a prior administration. I will be watching future developments wrt FCA with great interest.

  • WallMeerkat WallMeerkat on Jun 14, 2019

    There was something - they shared a city car. Ford replaced their radically designed Ka with a toned down design and based it on the same platform as the Fiat 500. Fiat over the past few years ago had platforms shared with: Ford (500) Suzuki (Sedici) GM (Punto) Jeep (500L) Peugeot-Citroen (Ulysse) Mazda (124) Renault (Talento van) and Mitsubishi (Fullback)

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