Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chairman John Elkann, like the company’s sweatered CEO, is making come-hither eyes in the hopes of luring a suitor.
FCA needs a partner to turn itsÂ lofty debt pile into capital, so Elkann wants other automakers to know just how thrilled he’d be if they helped FCA save $10 billion a year, he told shareholders of the investment company controlling FCA (via Bloomberg).
The problem, he lamented, is that other automakers are all wrapped up in trying to develop autonomous technology, often with outsider help. Like a wallflower with a heart of gold, FCA feels ignored despite having a lot to offer.
“You need two to tango, and most of our competitors are busy with the great opportunities that technological disruption has to offer,” Elkann wrote to the Exor S.p.A. shareholders.
What’s an Italian-American automaker to do?
Autonomous vehicles are sexy and alluring, but they’re not going to make up more than a niche market for years to come, Elkann insisted. Human-driven cars are where the money is today, so why not hop on board and flex some revenue-generating muscle (while eliminating a 5 billion euro debt in the process)?
“Boring old carmakers need to figure out how to make this profitable and guard against falling into the 1990 trap of ignoring that business while chasing profits in other parts of the value chain,” Elkann said.
Last year, CEO Sergio Marchionne flung all sorts of woo at General Motors in a bid to be taken over by a larger partner, but all of his advances were rebuffed. GM CEO Mary Barra told Marchionne that her company wanted its space and wasn’t interested in playing the field.
It’s unlikely that browbeating your competitors will compel them to merge with you, but Elkann, with Marchionne as his wingman, are going to keep trying until the company finally sees some action.
[Image:Â Suzana Gudolle Dias de Bam/FlickrÂ (CC BY 2.0)]