Not all auto executives have dismissed Sergio Marchionne's case for industry consolidation as a desperate ploy to preserve Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The FCA CEO says some agree with the call to action he made in "Confessions of a Capital Junkie," his oft-cited April 29 Power Point presentation to analysts.
Interviewed by CNBC last week, Marchionne said he has "read all the commentaries and every Tom, Dick and Harry has expressed a view -- it can't be done, it failed before, this does not work, we're desperate, all that nonsense. We're just about to release Q2 earnings and we're really desperate or not, you decide."
Anyway, Marchionne says critics are missing the point, "forgetting the fundamental premise of the pitch. The pitch was that there is a better way to run this business that benefits everybody."
When big banks and other financial institutions implode, he says, automakers must be able to survive the shock.
"We need to be strong enough to be able to withstand events of that caliber," he said. "The creation of a combination with FCA would give rise to something of that caliber. ... It's the right answer. I'll wait, and we'll get it done."
Marchionne was guarded when asked whether he has talked to other automakers after General Motors CEO Mary Barra rebuffed merger talks with FCA.
"One of the things that comes with this job ... is that I end up meeting a lot of my colleagues in this business," he said. "'Capital Junkie' was not what I would call a noncontroversial pitch. It impacted everybody ... and obviously the conversation went on and ... I have had dialogue with other people."
But he said he hasn't talked to other CEOs about merging.
"No," Marchionne said. "There have been others who have said, 'I think you're right, and I think we should do something about that.' I haven't sat down and shared my plans with anybody else's. I've done a lot of work on the inside, and I continue to do it."