It seems Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles may be putting merger talks to rest, for now. Although the media has mostly covered FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and his outspoken attempts to find a partner, it’s the man behind the scenes who is also quite adamant on partnering with General Motors.
John Elkann, chairman of FCA, doesn’t plan on giving up on the idea. In fact, he says patience is a virtue in this situation, despite being rebuffed not only in 2015, but also in 2012.
The report comes from The Wall Street Journal, which says a deal with GM would be “the crowning achievement” for Elkann, who has transformed his family’s holding company and diversified outside of Europe.
“GM has not been put to rest,” said Elkann at a boardroom meeting in Milan, Italy. “GM is not the only option, but no doubt from a feasibility and quantum point of view it is by far the best.”
Analysts have cried fowl at the idea, saying the repeated calls for merging signifies weakness in FCA and their future operations. The lack of investment in new product, and product delays, also makes for a troublesome situation with the automaker. That’s not to mention weak profit margins, high debt counts and nearly no presence in China.
But Elkann points to missed opportunities, as both companies’ shares have grown significantly, and FCA brands such as Jeep and Maserati have grown tremendously since 2012. That still leaves Chrysler in the doldrums, however.
A General Motors spokesperson once again reiterated their lack of enthusiasm around the idea, completely dispelling the notion. But Elkann says 2017, or 2018, is when he’d like to resume talks.
That is, if there are any talks to truly be had.