Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is considering establishing its own U.S. captive finance arm for the first time in nearly a decade, CEO Sergio Marchionne said Friday during FCA's investor day in Balocco, Italy.
The captive, expected to be launched as early as 2019, could be formed from scratch or through an acquisition.
FCA currently leans on Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. and a patchwork of other banks to finance its vehicles. A captive could help the automaker become more competitive in the auto lending space and capture profits currently generated by such banks. It also could position Fiat Chrysler to better participate in the mobility, or transportation as a service, landscape, according to the company's presentation.
The move could spell trouble for Santander, though reports out of the investor event cite Fiat Chrysler CFO Richard Palmer as saying the automaker is in talks to buy all or part of Santander Consumer.
The Dallas-based lender has backed Chrysler Capital since 2013 in a partnership forged on the promise of increasing leasing for dealers.