Speaking after a presentation on Alfa Romeo’s planned Formula 1 return, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne announced the carmaker is in talks with South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Company about a technical partnership.
The alliance might become “a strong one,” though there is no likelihood of a merger between the companies, Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said Saturday at the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese, near Milan.
“We already buy components from (Hyundai) …. let’s see if we can agree on other points, especially for the development of transmissions and hydrogen,” Marchionne told journalists, adding there was “nothing to announce for the moment”.
Asked whether this collaboration could turn into a merger, Marchionne said: “I don’t believe so”.
Marchionne is a vocal proponent of automaker consolidation. Cooperation on hydrogen propulsion would come as rival plug-in electric vehicles emerge as the dominant technology in the emerging post-fossil fuel era.
Talk of separation of some of FCA brand’s, as happened with Ferrari, was briefly mentioned, however a spinoff of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands is too remote to be discussed at the moment and would not happen “for many years,” he said, while highlighting the importance of motor racing in Alfa’s development. A return to F1 could help polish the marque’s image as it seeks to rebuild an upscale reputation.
Marchionne has invested billions of dollars to develop new vehicles after the Alfa line-up shrank and sales collapsed in the last decade. F1’s global appeal will bring wider exposure after previous attempts to expand beyond Europe were delayed.
He confirmed Fiat Chrysler’s financial targets for 2018, including an increase in operating profit to about 9 billion euros ($10.7 billion) and the elimination of debt.