Honestly, this is really hard to even imagine, but what if the Volkswagen Group merged with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles? Aside from being easily the largest automaker on the planet, it'd bring the following makes under one roof: Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat, Skoda, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Fiat, Fiat Professional Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, Jeep, Maserati and Ram. Product overlap aside, this arrangement would, in the estimation of former Hyundai Motor America boss and current TrueCar President John Krafcik, be "highly profitable."
"For sure, these two companies have a natural attraction to each other." –John Krafcik
"This is an absolutely brilliant combination," Krafcik told Bloomberg at an event in Detroit this week. "For sure, these two companies have a natural attraction to each other."
Krafcik's statements hinge on the fact that, at least in the US, FCA has a booming SUV and pickup business, courtesy of Jeep and Ram, while the Volkswagen Group's Audi and Porsche tie down the premium business which is complemented by a strong mainstream lineup.
Now, the VW/FCA tieup has been periodically rumored for some time, and the two manufacturers have gone as far as denying any official talks. Still, Krafcik, who called his thoughts an "academic exercise," did add that a merger is "just such a natural possibility."
"It makes so much sense," Krafcik said. "You get a pretty interesting hypothetical company that covers all those bases pretty well."
While Krafcik makes good points, there's real potential for serious product overlap. How do you stratify 17 different brands? Lamborghini and Porsche already have a contentious relationship within the Volkswagen empire, what would happen when notoriously independent Ferrari is added to the mix? And Maserati?
Let's have our own academic exercise, Autoblog readers. Of the 17 brands currently built by FCA and VAG, which would you retain in a merged company? For the record, your author would retain VW (mainstream), Audi (premium), Porsche (sports cars), Bentley (luxury), Bugatti (hypercar), Alfa Romeo (premium performance), Ferrari (exotic performance), Jeep (SUV/CUV), Ram (trucks) and Fiat Professional (commercial vehicles). Build your own lineup, or just tell me why I'm wrong in Comments.