As I roved about the internet, I found this odd non-news-as-news. Despite mentioning a merger with VW, Sergio Marchionne has no interest in a merger with VW.
The story features a very entertaining photo of Mr Marchionne with President Trump.
It’s a rather baffling snippet. Marchionne floats an idea and then says he is not interested in it and, in so doing, explains all the reasons why it would be a good idea anyway. But he’s not doing it. He’s a puzzling chap. As I see it, VW has nothing at all to gain from taking over FCA with its army of problems and horde of underperforming models. VAG makes more money selling alloy wheels and trim options on the Seat Leon than Alfa Romeo makes on its entire line-up (infinitely more). FCA will disintegrate in due course, leaving VW to mop up any sales left over.
This is what he said: “I only said that if you were the No. 1 automaker in Europe and somebody combines with another automaker to become the second and gets very close to your position, you’re very first reaction is to distance the second again,” Marchionne told reporters Wednesday. “We are the only natural combination partner for somebody who wants to do that. If you were playing a chess board game, that’s what you would do,” he said.
If I felt motivated I might rail now at President Trump’s plans to nudge the US corporate fuel economy standards back to 1995 and the disheartening willingness of the Big Two to go along with it. As I like to say, capitalism is the most agile and inventive way of driving innovation: it can deal with regulation as long as it is stable.
Going along with Trump’s retrograde policy is to agree to the prejudice of low expectations. The Japanese marques have had no real problems dealing with CAFE or any of the rest of the US’s regulatory evolution. Ford and GM are, in effect, saying they are too weak or too lazy or too dim to cope.