The General Motors-PSA-Opel deal captured a lot of attention at the Geneva auto show, including the attention of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne.
The deal didn't involve FCA, yet it came as a vindication of sorts for Marchionne, who has been howling for almost two years about the need for industry consolidation.
In Geneva, Marchionne passed judgment on what GM had negotiated:
"I understand that they want to get out just to get rid of the problem, but you may have thrown out the baby with the bathwater."
And he suggested it might finally spur others to come calling:
"I have no doubt that at the relevant time, VW may show up and have a chat."
The PSA-Opel combination, he said, "threatens VW most, creating a No. 2 on its heels." (VW's CEO said he's not interested.)
But I wonder if he caught the other lesson being taught by his much more profitable Detroit competitor.
After a certain point -- say $8 billion -- automakers playing with other people's money are obligated to cut their losses and walk away, or at least find some other chump to keep writing the checks.
When Marchionne finally leaves FCA, I and others will try to sum up his tenure. We'll look at what worked and what didn't. And we'll look at where Fiat and Chrysler were when he arrived, and where they are as he leaves.
FCA's books should be in better shape then. But unless someone rides to the rescue, the old Chrysler will once again be a too-small automaker dangerously dependent on pickup and SUV sales, and a big part of its profits will have once again been diverted to Europe, this time to resurrect Alfa Romeo.
Barring a miracle, there's one line I already know will be in that assessment of his career:
He should have sold Alfa to VW $6 billion ago, back when he had a motivated buyer.