The Aug. 31 story of Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's renewed pitch to merge with General Motors sparked a huge response from our audience. Here's a sampling of comments posted on autonews.com.
"This is not about saving FCA but more to do with making bigger profits for the owners. Wall Street is already quietly supporting it because there is money for them too."
"In the end of all this talk VW will end up with all of FCA for virtually nothing. One thing that Sergio is good at and that is cash flow analysis. He knew 5 years ago that Fiat was losing cash at a high rate. The only thing the merger of the two has done has been to slow the bleeding. If he doesn't find a partner soon the bells will toll for FCA and VW will get it for a song. Again Chrysler will have bailed out someone else and not itself."
"Ford fans have to love this turmoil. What could be better than 5 years of total distraction while the two 'partners' try to strangle each other?"
"Devil's advocate: GM is giving the strong 'public face' about this, but there's one nagging little thing that they're likely wrestling deep inside RenCen: what if Sergio is right? If the mergers, acquisitions, and 'strategic partnerships' all occur but GM is left outside the door with the bouncer because they have no date for the party, who will they blame for their lack of foresight?"
"Does anyone really think that the antitrust department of the DoJ would allow such a thing?"
"Many see this as a good fit, but I still think it would take a powerhouse investor stepping in to tip the scales. I do not see the current GM management ever going along with this combination willingly so the only way it happens is if enough money steps into the room to force the issue. I'm sure Bob Lutz has the popcorn popped and comfy chair pulled up already."
"Sharing the same platform, engines, engineering, RD, factories, supply chain contracts with steel mills, third party suppliers and other entities, employees, even dealerships could save billions and perhaps build an automotive empire. Cutting costs, engaging employees (unions) and merging as much as possible could make FCA/GM the Henry Ford of the 21st century. Business development, technology, RD are merged together to create lower costs across all vehicle lines. FCA should offer GM a bold business plan and GM shareholders can decide if the merger could optimize stock pricing and share value for the long haul."
"Here is why the merger will not work. Much of the savings that Sergio is talking about is sharing the development costs on a full sized truck. That would save billions initially, but then you would be left with Chevy, GMC and Ram all offering the same truck."
"Badge engineering and the elimination of many plants and thousands of jobs. Sergio needs to go back and complete his mission with FCA, which is to merge with itself."
"Typical GM arrogance. You'd think a bankruptcy would have them thinking differently about their own shortcomings -- which are many -- over at the RenCen. On the other hand, I think Sergio is vastly underestimating how broken GM's culture is. This wouldn't work without some very strong leadership, and some massive pain."
"Sergio, why the obsession with GM??? Almost any other automaker, from Suzuki to Ford, PSA to VW, would offer better synergies than GM. Way too much overlap, not only in North America but globally, half of FCA's brands would become marginal or die."
"Sure, from a simple accounting standpoint FCA+GM=GreaterProfits, but that's not the formula for long term success. This business is not just about capital and adding up numbers, but of passion, heritage, loyalties, and performance parameters that go far beyond what is financially tangible. Give it up Sergio."