Marchionne ready to get tough with GM over merger

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne absolutely refuses to let go of his dream of a merger with General Motors. With official discussions not happening, Marchionne now hints that a hostile takeover attempt of The General could be under consideration as a future strategy. In a massive interview with Automotive News, the boss explains why a tie-up with GM might be such a windfall for both automakers.

By Marchionne's numbers, a merged GM-FCA would produce $30 billion a year in global earnings and 17 million vehicles annually. He claims these huge figures are based on analyzing plants around the world to find growth opportunities. So far, GM is refusing to sit down and look at the numbers, let alone even begin to negotiate.

For now, Marchionne just wants to talk, but he's not against aggressive action, if necessary. He uses a bizarre metaphor in the interview to explain his feelings. "There are varying degrees of hugs. I can hug you nicely, I can hug you tightly, I can hug you like a bear, I can really hug you. Everything starts with physical contact," he said to Automotive News.

"An attack on GM, properly structured, properly financed, it cannot be refused," he said in the interview. Marchionne is looking for partners, too. The UAW's significant stake in GM could be a strong ally, and he's reportedly recruiting activist investors for more help. Selling Magneti Marelli and spinning off Ferrari would put even more cash in the war chest. Both sides also have banks at their aid.

While Marchionne received positive replies from some of his "Plan B" partners, he apparently lost interest in working with them. "Are they the people I wanted to get the response from? The answer is probably not. There are people who are interested in doing deals," he said in the interview.

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