In 2015, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne pushed for a merger between FCA and General Motors, arguing that the global auto industry needs to consolidate to deal with ruinous, capital-wasting replication of technology.
Nothing came of the idea, as GM rejected Marchionne’s bid.
On Thursday, FCA reported full-year earnings from 2016, and they were a billion more than in 2015: $6.5 billion versus $5.5 billion, before taxes and interest.
But Marchionne hasn’t completely abandoned his GM-merger dreams. During a conference call with analysts after FCA announced its results, he responded to a question from Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas about a rumoured conversation with President Donald Trump, during a meeting this week with automaker CEOs, about an FCA-GM tie-up.
Marchionne said that he hadn’t talked to Trump about the idea, and he also said that any further discussion about a merger was a distraction for FCA in executing on its plans.
“It’s not in the cards — we were rejected,” he said about the GM flirtation.
But then he ventured the possibility of what he called a “beer conversation at a bar.”
“A tie-up of that calibre would create largest American car company in the US, and create the largest car company in the world, and it would be American-based.”
It would also create an unholy hodgepodge of overlapping brands and products.
But for Marchionne, it would also perhaps serve Trump’s “America First” agenda. So he clearly hasn’t stopped thinking about the merger.