Fiat Chrysler Automobiles proposed and bailed on a potential merger with French automaker Renault within the last week, but apparently Renault wasn’t the first prospective partner the automaker entertained.
In a new interview with Automotive News Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford confirmed he and the late FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne had several discussions regarding a perspective merger between the two automakers. The heir recalled the discussions by saying, “[they] had a number of dinners together talking about … whether Ford and FCA would be a good fit.”
Ultimately Ford decided against pursuing a merger with FCA. Ford cited the company’s own challenges and issues at the time as reason enough to avoid the tie-up. He added that a merger with FCA could have potentially “slowed them down” in terms of progress of their own turnaround efforts.
While Ford turned down a prospective merger with FCA, the company is clearly shopping around for alliances and partnerships. Just this year the company has entered into a formal partnership with Volkswagen to co-develop commercial vehicles. Ford has also entered into an agreement with Mahindra and purchased an equity stake in electric vehicle start-up Rivian.
Ford says many of the new technologies automakers are developing will require scale to be economically viable. For this reason, he expects the trend of consolidation to continue; a sentiment routinely expressed by FCA’s former CEO Marchionne.