Fiat Chrysler CEO Shuts Down Merger Talks, Noting A Focus on Achieving Debt Reduction Goals

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has said he is ending his search for a suitable FCA partner. He has said that the company is not in a good position to hold any merger talks. Instead, he says the group will focus on achieving the goals they set for the year.

At an investor’s meeting, in Amsterdam, he also made sure to note that they are not currently in merger talks with Volkswagen. Last month he had intimated that VW might have interest in pursuing this merger, but this is no longer an option. “On the Volkswagen issue,” he comments, “on the question if there are ongoing discussions, the answer is no. I have a lot of respect for Volkswagen and I think we are not in a position to discuss any alliance, the primary focus is (on) the execution of the plan.”

In addition, Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann explains, on Friday, he was no interest, at all, in a “big merger deal” though he does want the company to prosper. Hence, the focus on their goals.

What are these goals? Well, in January the company vowed to cut its debt in half by 2018, for one.
Elkann also notes, “Historically, deals are struck at times of difficulty. Mergers are unlikely to happen unless something goes wrong. Chrysler and Opel have agreed to mergers as they were in trouble,” adding, “we don’t want to be in trouble.”

Marchionne has also commented that the company needs to be very careful about setting “unrealistic dreams” about any type of merger or consolidation because the company is on track to “historically important results and a debt-free position.” He goes on to say, “We are not at a point of time to discuss any alliance.”

At the same time, even if FCA is not looking at any possible mergers, the company is still involved with a key partnership that involves developing autonomous vehicles by supplying Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids for the Waymo program (formerly known as the self-driving car project at Google).

Now, Marchionne is stepping down as CEO of FCA once the company approves their 2018 results. FCA Chairman John Elkann reports they will replace him with someone within the company.

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