Fiat Chrysler CEO says not in tie-up talks at present

Tue Mar 1, 2016 1:31pm EST
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By Agnieszka Flak

GENEVA (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (FCHA.MI: Quote) is not in tie-up talks with anyone at present, and a potential partner would need to have the same multi-brand strategy as FCA for a merger to work, Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Tuesday.

FCA shares got a lift last week after France's Peugeot (PEUP.PA: Quote) said it was open to strategic opportunities in the auto sector, sparking speculation the two companies could enter merger discussions, but Marchionne said there were no talks with Peugeot.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show, Marchionne added that since the failure of his bid to tie up with U.S. rival GM (GM.N: Quote), the world's seventh-largest carmaker had decided to carry on solo and was certain of reaching its ambitious targets for the years to 2018 even without a partner.

In January, FCA raised the financial targets of its five-year turnaround plan following a better-than-expected performance in North America and Europe and strong sales of its Jeep SUVs, but some analysts wondered whether the indebted carmaker would be able to execute it on its own.

Marchionne later said that GM, Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) and to some extent Renault-Nissan had a similar strategy to FCA, while it was difficult to imagine how a combination with Ford (F.N: Quote) could work given its one-brand focus.

"When it comes to consolidation, we have always focused our efforts on companies that have the same cannot merge with someone that does not understand you," Marchionne said.

"Volkswagen, GM are companies that understand this reality well, they continue to be points of reference ... and to some extent Renault-Nissan ... they have experience of multi-brands," he said. "It's difficult to imagine other alliances."

Marchionne said FCA had been approached by other auto makers but the options were not sufficiently attractive.   Continued...

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler, gestures at the 86th International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, March 1, 2016.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse