Sergio Marchionne

Fiat/Chrysler sold about 4.2 million cars in 2010, and company CEO Sergio Marchionne expects to improve that by more than 33% come 2014, predicting sales of 5.7 units that year (analysts, on the other hand, predict average Fiat/Chrysler sales of 4.9 million in 2014). Operating profit for 2011 has been pegged at around $600 million, a rewarding bump from the $200 to $500 million predicted earlier in the year and dwarfed by the predicted $3 billion operating profit for 2012.

For Marchionne, though, those numbers need help from the outside: he says that an automaker needs to sell ten million units per year globally in order to reach "a new level of efficiency" and get development costs where he wants them. To wit, he is considering a partnership with a third car company to make that happen. He has repeatedly stated that he hasn't spoken with anyone yet, but Italian paper Corriere della Serra has said that Peugeot is ready to talk, while other analysts have mentioned makers in emerging markets as potential partners.

This is hardly the first time Marchionne has mentioned his quest for Volkswagen-like scale – in fact, he's been quite consistent on his desire to rationalize costs throughout the carmaking process. Based on that, it's inevitable that he'll tie up, the only questions now are who and when. He could wait until Fiat digests the remaining 41.5 percent of Chrysler it doesn't own and "merges" with The Pentastar, or if the right partner raises a hand, it might be sooner. Whoever it is, if it results in more novelties like the Dodge Dart, we tentatively say we're all for it.