March 3, 2016
Apple reported worldwide earnings of $233 billion during the fourth quarter of 2015 alone. But that fact didn’t stop FCA CEO and black sweater enthusiast Sergio Marchionne from offering his company’s assistance in developing the tech giant’s top-secret electric vehicle project, the Apple Car. As we say down South: Bless his heart. “I would assume that we have the credibility to be one of the players they have looked at,” Marchionne said in remarks recorded by Bloomberg. “There are parts of us that would be interesting for them.” Marchionne made this bold, pro-Apple pronouncement while at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. From FCA’s POV, it’s easy to see why Marchionne would be so keen to partner with the world’s most marketable brand. What Apple gets out of the deal, supposedly, is FCA’s automotive know-how, as well as its ability to defray the production and manufacturing costs of the Apple Car. It has long been Marchionne’s contention that auto companies would be better served financially by joining forces. Automakers such as GM have not shared Marchionne’s view, to say the least. As a result, Marchionne has been forced to recalibrate by emphasizing production of more saleable models like crossovers, SUVs and trucks. To be fair, FCA has far more experience in the automotive game than Apple, so it might behoove Apple CEO Tim Cook to seriously consider Marchionne’s offer of assistance. After all, it isn’t easy to run a successful automotive company, and there’s no guarantee that the Apple Car will be a success for all of the resources Apple devotes to the project. Therefore, it isn’t too far fetched to imagine an Apple-FCA team-up, especially when you consider the preponderance of auto mergers that took place last year. A self-described “Apple freak,” Marchionne has undoubtedly been tracking the progress of the Apple Car as much as we have. The FCA boss expressed his willingness to adapt to Apple’s corporate culture in order to actualize the Apple Car. “Apple has a language, and you have to be able to speak that language,” said Marchionne. “Usually the industry comes into that dialogue with a high degree of arrogance as we know how to make cars. That’s not very helpful as their syntax is worth more than our ability to build cars.” Whether Apple agrees with Marchionne’s assessment remains to be seen, but you can rest assured that we’ll continue to cover this developing story on the Auto Publishers blog, the decisive leader in automotive news!