Sergio Marchionne wants a dance partner for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
The financial media keep trying to fix him up with Volkswagen, despite his refusal to be courted by this particular German fraulein and his repeated attempts to douse the rumors.
As a casual observer, with my back to the dance hall wall, I think Marchionne has his eye on a potential mate in Asia.
To me, there are three automakers with whom a merger or enhanced partnership makes sense for FCA. In descending order of likelihood, they are Suzuki, Mazda and Hyundai.
Hyundai would be a perfect partner, except I believe its culture is incompatible with FCA's. Hyundai also would have little to gain from such a union. FCA doesn't really have anything that the Korean carmaker needs.
So what about Mazda Motor Corp.? No longer linked with Ford Motor Co., Mazda would seem to bring substantial technology and sophistication to a potential union with FCA. And the two companies have already had a fling -- and produced an offspring: the upcoming Fiat 124 convertible is a rebadged Mazda MX-5 Miata.
But the problem with Mazda is that, with the exception of Japan, its strongest markets are also FCA's strongest: the United States and Europe. And Mazda is on the small side of what FCA needs, having sold only 1.3 million vehicles globally in 2014.
This brings us to Suzuki Motor Corp., which is rebounding from a disastrous relationship with Volkswagen. With sales of 3 million vehicles per year, Suzuki allows Marchionne to achieve his dream of selling 7 million annually.
Suzuki is strongest in Asia -- it has a dominant position in India -- and Asia is where FCA is weakest.
What's more, Suzuki is weak where FCA is strongest, including in the United States, where Suzuki doesn't even sell new automobiles anymore.
Is Suzuki the prettiest potential partner at the dance? In terms of technology, no. But in a business sense, Suzuki is definitely Marchionne's best shot at fulfilling his dreams.