Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne Hints At Possibility Of FCA Building Car For Apple

2 years ago by Mark Kane 39

Get Ready To Hear Something Stupid On EV Technology

I can build electric car for you.

Apple Logo

Apple Logo

Sergio Marchionne, known for his skepticism about electric cars, stepped up in Geneva with a surprising offer that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could build a car for Apple (which would be electric, by the way).

Marchionne revealed also that he himself is an “Apple freak,” using all kinds of Apple products and that he would appreciate such a partnership, without being arrogant (which often happens when large company looks on new players from above).

“I would assume that we have the credibility to be one of the players they have looked at. There are parts of us that would be interesting for them.”

“Apple has a language, and you have to be able to speak that language. 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.”

Well, it wouldn’t be bad idea from various prospects. Fiat opts for broader consolidation and Apple wouldn’t necessarily need to establish a production facility for the car.

Whether we will see a Fiat Chrysler Apple Automobiles alliance is now an open topic, at least from Marchionne’s perspective.


source: Bloomberg.com

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39 responses to "Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne Hints At Possibility Of FCA Building Car For Apple"

  1. SparkEV says:

    Why? So Apple could lose $14,000 per car like Fiat 500e does?

    1. RexxSee says:

      It’s good news to see FCA heading toward BEVs.

      1. miggy says:

        Why doesn’t Fiat Group build their own EV’s?

        1. Alan says:

          They do, the Fiat 500e. Sergio famously claimed they were losing $14000 per car, and asked people not to buy it. People figure he was probably including development cost, not just the cost to build another car. Bosch developed most of the power train.

          The irony is it’s a pretty good, popular car, accounting for most of the Fiat 500s sold in California. I’ve had one for 2 1/2 years, and like it a lot.

  2. R.S. says:

    Fiat can’t and Fiat won’t. If Apple would be interested, they might have called… FCA is like a guy who thinks he is a womanizer, but really isn’t. First the GM merger “I really didn’t want to merge either”, now Apple “I could easily have her, there are parts of me Apple can’t resist”. Guess what, nobody wants you FCA, not with your attitude…

  3. goaterguy says:

    Fiat… for the ladiessssssss

    1. evcarnut says:

      It appears as though sergio is beginning to realize ,that things are headed towards EV’s & doesn’t want to be left behind ..Hooking up with a Monster Company like this would deffinitley enhance FCA’s Position in many aspects as well as Apple’s …. This could very well become a win win !…JUST WAIT UNTIL SOMEONE DEVELOPS AN ELECTRICITY HOLDING SYSTEM, THAT CAN BE CHARGED QUICKER THAN YOU CAN FILL A GAS TANK …The battery will be a thing of the past.

  4. Alan says:

    I must admit, I have been of the opinion that Apple will either buy an auto maker or get an established one to build their cars.

    Given the build quality of FCA cars, this wasn’t quite who I had envisaged if I am honest but I suppose they are going to need someone big enough to churn a lot of them out !

    1. GeorgeS says:

      I used to think that Apple buying Tesla would never happen.(and it probably won’t) But it sure would help them both. Apple has money. Tesla has experience building cars. Hard won experience also.

      I was reading an article on the cost of building batteries.

      There are 3 variable that have the biggest influence on battery cost. Guess which is one of the biggest contributors: the cost of money. If your borrowing costs are high you can’t make the batteries economically.

      With Apples cash their cost to borrow is zero.

      1. LOL says:

        Not only would Apple bring in fresh cash but would certainly contribute to widening R&D scope. Think decreasing the battery size, furthering wireless charging, involving maglev (hover) tech, you name it.

      2. Mister G says:

        The cost of money, very interesting, that’s why a Tesla-Apple partnership would be more beneficial to both companies in bringing down battery costs. A Tesla-Apple partnership would be a significant threat to fossil fuel economy. I hope it happens soon.

  5. CDAVIS says:

    What Sergio Marchionne is saying is that for Apple to build an EV a Fiat + Apple combination is logical because there is an advantage created if the traditional car maker (Fiat) builds the car and a traditional technology company (Apple) develops the higher level technology components.

    Tesla has so far proved one of those assumptions to be false. Also, Apple’s MO is to be highly in control of every aspect of hardware production for it’s products.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Tesla paying Lotus to build the gliders (cars without a powertrain) for the Roadster arguably was a good approach, even though Tesla made no money overall on the model. It allowed Tesla to get some experience with building cars, and enabled it to make a media splash, establishing the brand and attracting the investors they needed to make their own cars.

      With Apple, the reasons for contracting with an existing auto maker are less clear. Apple already has the money and the reputation it needs, and it’s already hired lots of ex-Tesla employees, so the expertise is there, even though Apple has no experience with building cars.

      It might make sense for Apple to partner with an existing auto maker if their primary intent is to “test the waters” and see if making cars is something they really want to do. It would minimize the loss in investment if they decide to get out, and heaven knows that mass producing automobiles requires a massive investment in capital. Even Apple, with its very deep pockets, wouldn’t like to make such an investment only to have to write it off.

      But if Apple is serious about mass producing cars — and I think that’s still an open question, especially with the recent announcement that they were putting the project on hold — then splitting the profits (if any) with Chrysler or any other auto maker isn’t a good long-term strategy.

  6. Sublime says:

    There’s a battery surplus -> We’re going to build a big battery plant

    EVs aren’t profitable -> We can build a profitable EV for Apple

    This guy seems to be scrambling, I wonder when he announces his resignation.

    1. mustang_sallad says:

      Pretty sure that was the Daimler CEO who flip-flopped on the battery plant.

  7. kdawg says:

    Their logo is almost an apple as it is.

    1. evcarnut says:

      FIAT Is an Acronym for…Fix it again Tony…
      .l 0 l…. N0 Really.it means ….Fabrica Industrialle’ Automobile’ Torino..

  8. offib says:

    Huh! Talk about an overrated POS!

  9. MikeG says:

    Fix it again Sergio!

  10. Speculawyer says:

    Sergio outsourcing EV designs again? (Bosch developed the Fiat 500e.)

    Fiat/Chrysler becoming just a contract manufacturer?

  11. Stephen says:

    Just a hypothetical, nothing more.

  12. Jonathan B says:

    Nobody is noticing that Apple Exec Eddie Cue is on the board of Ferrari (owned by Fiat/Chrysler). If you ask me its a match made in heaven. If Apple wants to compete in the car scene in a more immediate sense, it needs a manufacturer that has the means to produce a product quickly in partnership with them. if it has to do everything on its own like Tesla is, it could take 5+ years to get a car to market.

    1. Robb Stark says:

      Fiat has spun off Ferrari.

      Although the Agnellis still own a large share of the newly independent Ferarri.

  13. Rick Danger says:

    An Apple/Tesla partnership would leave the rest of the automotive world dumpster-diving for their dinners.
    It’s an awesome thing to contemplate.

    1. MikeG says:

      I’d rather see Apple fighting for market share against an incumbent. Competition drives innovation.

  14. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I can see Apple outsource its EVs to LG or Honda or BMW or even GM or Ford before it goes to FCA.

    FCA is probably on the bottom of the list of choices for Apple.

    This is just another desperate talk by FCA CEO to boost its future as FCA is really NOT doing well globally…

  15. Josh says:

    So let me get this straight…Please don’t buy EVs because we lose money on them, nobody wants EVs.

    But we have no problem committing production capacity for Apple to build EVs because people will by them and Apple only sells things that make money. And I love Apple things.

    So the conclusion is, we don’t know how to design, market, and sell vehicle products that people will want enough to secure a profit margin.

    Bad news for FCA shareholders.

  16. Jonathan B says:

    I think what’s happening is that some manufacturers who weren’t originally on the bandwagon are realizing that there’s a competitive advantage to be had between 2019-2020 with federal EV rebates. By mid to late 2018 GM, Nissan, and Tesla will have exhausted their 200k production numbers and will have diminishing credits, but if someone who hadn’t produced many cars for sale in the US can come to the table with a compelling product by late 2018 or early 2019, they can have a $7500 jump on the existing frontrunners. I think FCA is realizing that they have a better shot at this through a partnership with Apple than they do on their own.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      There is no question that such a partnership would benefit Fiat-Chrysler.

      The question is how it could possibly benefit Apple. Even if Apple did decide to outsource mass production of a car, surely there are better potential partners.

  17. Clive says:

    Apple will not outsource anything they do not have to.

    I know Sergio will not retire let alone die until he finds his merge partner… Not going to happen.

    Get real Sergio!

    1. Robb Stark says:

      Apple will outsource everything they possible can.

      Apple will only manufacture themselves if they absolutely have to do so.

      1. Clive says:

        Sergio is trying to create buzz, but that kind of buzz died 10 years ago

  18. Alaa says:

    Why can’t Tesla buy FIAT?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Tesla is a young, lean, agile company. Why would they want to saddle themselves with a heavy debt to buy out an aging and not-very-competitive legacy auto maker?

      It would be like hitching a racing horse to a freight wagon. Unless Fiat-Chrysler has an auto assembly plant in China, I doubt they have anything that Tesla would be willing to pay for.

    2. evcarnut says:

      Musk will Rename Tesla “FIAM”…Fix It Again Musk….

  19. abc123 says:

    Highly unlikely because whatever FCA Group builds, it won’t pass Apple quality standards.

  20. walt says:

    so, Fiat Apple Partnership? aka FAP?

    1. Rick Danger says:

      Fiat Worldwide Apple Partnership 🙂

      {{{FWAP!}}}