FCA boss Sergio Marchionne has a reputation as an incredibly canny businessman. Some examples of his acumen include finishing Fiat's takeover of Chrysler from a beachside home and winning a challenge with Luca di Montezemolo for the reins of Ferrari. The Italian exec recently took a trip to California and lavished praise on Elon Musk after a meeting with the Tesla CEO. Although, the compliment did come off as a little patronizing.

"I'm incredibly impressed with what that kid has done," Marchionne said to Reuters about his conversation with Musk. Unfortunately, the FCA exec didn't go into detail about what he and Tesla boss discussed. Although, calling the 43-year-old billionaire a "kid" does seem a little rude, especially given Musk's success with Paypal, in the auto industry and at SpaceX.

While in the Golden State, Marchionne also had a talk with Apple CEO Tim Cook. Although, he was similarly cagey about what the men discussed. "He's interested in Apple's intervention in the car, that's his role," Marchionne said to Reuters about the conversation without divulging more. The two companies already have some small links thanks to Ferrari's use of the tech giant's products.

As one additional highlight for Marchionne's California trip, he took a ride in the Google autonomous car.


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