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Fiat Chrysler is the smallest of Detroit's 'Big Three' automakers. But it could become a lot bigger if it merged with General Motors.
If such a merger happened, it would likely have the blessing of President-elect Donald Trump -- and presumably the regulators working for his administration. At least, that's what Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne speculated this week.
From the Big Three to Big Two?
Marchionne made the comments, in Italiano, during the Detroit Auto Show on Monday. "From what I understand, I believe that Trump should like a GM-Chrysler tie-up," he said, according to Bloomberg. Marchionne has sought to merge Chrysler with another car company for a while now and reiterated his belief that automakers are wasting billions of dollars a week that would be saved by consolidating.
Marchionne's comments came the same day that Trump was praising the company on Twitter, following its announcement that Chrysler would invest $1 billion in its Michigan and Ohio factories.
It's finally happening - Fiat Chrysler just announced plans to invest $1BILLION in Michigan and Ohio plants, adding 2000 jobs. This after...-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
Ford said last week that it will expand in Michigan and U.S. instead of building a BILLION dollar plant in Mexico. Thank you Ford & Fiat C!-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
Those investments had been long planned, the company explained, and could not be attributed to the president-elect. Similarly, Marchionne said on Monday that he wasn't in any direct contact with Trump and wouldn't discuss policy matters prior to the inauguration later this month.
It's Finally Happening? Maybe Not for Chrysler-GM Merger
This isn't the first time Marchionne has floated the idea of a Fiat Chrysler-GM merger. The CEO previously suggested the move in 2015, in an email to GM CEO Mary Barra. Barra made it clear at the time that she wasn't interested in the deal.
"We are merging with ourselves," Bara said then. "We are focused on our plan," she said, referring to internal efforts to eliminate redundant practices. "We have scale. We have leveraged the appropriate opportunities."
Nothing has changed since then, a GM spokesman said. "We take the same position now that we did back then."