Marchionne urges industry consolidation, again

Sergio Marchionne isn't just an instigator of mergers – he's also a staunch advocate for their need in the industry. And he seems convinced another big one will happen in the next few years.

"I am absolutely certain that before 2018 there will be a merger," said Marchionne. "It's my personal opinion, based on a gut feeling." Though the terms "absolutely certain" and "gut feeling" would seem to convey vastly different degrees of certainty, his chief's statement would seem to suggest some inside knowledge of an impending deal.

Marchionne, of course, brokered the consolidation of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles empire over which he now presides, and has been actively seeking another merger to help reduce redundancy and overhead between major automakers in the industry.

With which automaker he might be seeking such a merger, however, remains a big question. He was recently reported to have approached Mary Barra regarding a potential merger with General Motors, but was said to have been rebuffed.

The Italian-Canadian executive may not be alone in his advocacy for industry consolidation, though. Opel chief Karl-Thomas Neumann said that "In principle, Marchionne is right – the auto industry develops the same things ten times over." Bringing major automakers together would ostensibly reduce that redundancy.

Marchionne had been linked to a potential takeover of Opel when GM was shedding brands post-bankruptcy, but in the end the Detroit giant opted to keep its European division in-house.

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