Sergio Marchionne told stockholders that Fiat Chrysler will focus on its long term plans and not search for a merger, according to  Reuters correspondent Stefano Rebaudo. Mr. Marchionne was addressing Friday's stockholder meeting in the Netherlands.

Marchionne’s quest for a partner/buyer took on new life in recent weeks as Matthias Mueller, CEO of Volkswagen AG, suggested the auto giant might be interested in a tie-up.

Fiat Chrysler chairman John Elkann is not in favor of a merger, saying such deals are often made in “difficult times.”

Elkann also said that Marchionne's successor will come from within the company; he and Marchionne are working on identifying that person. Marchionne is to retire in 2019, following the announcement of Fiat Chrysler's 2018 financial results.