GM CEO says no to Fiat Chrysler Marchionne’s merger plan

Article by Andrew Christian, on May 28, 2015

An invitation to discuss a mega merger deal sent via email by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has been turned down by General Motors CEO Mary Barra last March, according to a recent report from the New York Times. Sources said that Marchionne suggested a merger of the global automakers so that they will save billions of dollars and form an automotive giant.

It’s not a surprise that Marchionne sent the email since he has been quite vocal in his plan for a consolidation. Last April 13, Reuters reported that Marchionne wanted a super merger, possibly in the U.S., to eliminate the weaknesses within the company and to strengthen his legacy before he steps down in early 2019.

The New York Times report revealed that Barra and other GM executives weren’t interested in the idea of a merger. Sources said that Marchionne had requested for a meeting and was “flatly turned down.” When Fiat Chrysler posted lower-than-expected in the first quarter, Marchionne made a plea in public to limit the number of players in the global auto industry.

When interviewed by the Times, Marchionne said that he has “always had this incredible sense of urgency.” He explained that he has always sought to “seize the moment” and create the conditions for it so that it produces opportunities that he can pick from.

Last May 4, Barra said that there not been any talks with Marchionne and that GM will continue with its own plan on investments for product development.

In an April 29 presentation, Marchionne said that if no traditional automakers pay attention to him, he might approach Silicon Valley companies, like Google or Apple, which are hoping to find ways to provide alternatives to traditional cars or car ownership.

On May 9, Marchionne said in Canada that he was in meetings with the Tesla Motors Inc. and Apple heads when he was in California. However, he didn’t give details. There have been speculations by analysts that Google or Apple may turn to an existing automaker or supplier to build vehicles as a contractor.

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