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FCA + Apple: the ultimate merger?

by Bill Cawthon on

Dr. David E. Cole, Chairman Emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, told Automotive News that he thinks that Fiat Chrysler’s most likely merger candidate is Apple.

At the Center’s Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, Cole said, “It wouldn’t surprise me if I were to wake up one day and found that Apple and Chrysler had come together. Because now here’s the platform – Apple has an unbelievable amount of money – and introduces them into the field of manufacturing which now can establish a new profit center.”


The secretive Apple, which has a current (8/5/2015) market value of $675.4 billion, is rumored be looking into building an electric car.  FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne met with Apple CEO Tim Cook in May. Quoted in a Reuter’s report, Marchionne’s only comment about the meeting was, “He’s interested in Apple’s intervention in the car, that’s his role.” (Apple has openly created a cellphone interface for car entertainment systems called CarPlay.)

Speaking about Marchionne’s quest for a merger, Cole said, “If I were Sergio, I would be doing exactly what he is doing.”

Apple rumor sites have suggested that Apple is most likely to team up with BMW, and had arranged to use one of BMW’s new designs for its alleged Apple Car before the two chose to go their own ways.

Dr. Cole was formerly Director of the Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and a University of Michigan engineering professor. The son of Ed Cole, who was president of General Motors from 1967 to 1974, Dr. Cole was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2013.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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