New Scenarios Emerge for Cash-Short Fiat Chrysler

Marchionne may still get his merger — just out of necessity instead of desire

Funding new technologies is particularly difficult for cash-strapped contenders like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Although FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is pulling out all the stops to polish his financial legacy before his likely retirement in 2018, the notorious dealmaker may have to forge a major partnership to save the group from being split up or going under. The rumor mill at the 2017 New York auto show produced two intriguing scenarios, both of which of course are unconfirmed and totally hypothetical.

Option A: Fiat Auto becomes part of GM Europe, replacing Opel, while Chrysler would become part of GM North America. As for the remaining brands, Dodge would become the new Pontiac, Ram would be merged with GMC, and Jeep, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati would remain standalone brands — the latter likely prompting questions about the future of Cadillac.

Option B: A tie-up between FCA and Volkswagen North America. This arrangement would give Sergio’s team access to VW’s MEB modular electric car platform (perhaps on a pay per unit basis) while opening the Chrysler/Dodge sales channels to the Germans. In order to placate powerful dealer bodies, both parties would have to construct some kind of corporate merger that could be restricted to North America, sources say. A portion of a certain coveted Italian sports car brand [the one with a horse as its logo] would undoubtedly sweeten the deal.

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