Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne is keen to talk to Volvo as the Swedish firm’s hunt for a partner in developing small cars continues. “I’m interested in talking to everyone that wants to talk to me,” said Marchionne.
Volvo has no long-term tie-up with Ford anymore after it was sold to Chinese firm Geely. The firm has developed a new range of four-cylinder engines and a scalable platform for mid-large sized cars, but a small car platform is absent from its armoury.
“We are open for partners,” Volvo’s chief executive Stefan Jacoby said in January. “We are open for collaboration in a win-win situation for sharing platforms, for sharing engines and for a general higher scale of economics.”
Marchionne also revealed he’d had talks with several Japanese companies, believed to include Mazda and Suzuki, regarding future alternative drivetrains, but he planned to persist with improving internal combustion engine technology due to the high costs of new alternative technology.
“There’s still lots of unexplored technology with combustion,” he said. “Future drivetrains need to be cheaper and more cost effective. You just won’t sell any cars at that price in the B-segment.”
An all-electric version of the Fiat 500 will be launched by the end of the year, which pools in technology from a whole host of companies to remove the costly development away from Fiat.
“I don’t want to trial a load of future solutions,” he said. “We will take the benefits of others’ work.”
On the subject of partnerships, Marchionne said he never tried to make a deal with PSA Peugeot-Citroen before the French firm made a deal with General Motors. “I would not like to be GM,” he said. “The integration for the cost does not go far enough and would not have met our requirments.”
Fiat did previously have highly-publicised talks with General Motors regarding a purchase of Opel-Vauxhall and Saab in 2009, and Marchionne said he could have “found a solution for the brands”.