Fiat Chrysler CEO Says Apple Inc. (AAPL) Planning To Intervene In Auto Industry

Apple Cupertino headquarters

Adding more fuel to the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) smartcar rumor, Sergio Marchionne, CEO, Fiat-Chrysler, said that a new intervention was being planned in the car industry by Apple CEO Tim Cook. Speaking at the launch of a Maserati dealership in Canada, Marchionne said that he met Cook during a recent visit to California.

He also met Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO and Founder, Elon Musk. While not divulging more about his meetings with the two companies, Marchionne said that he also drove the upcoming hands-free vehicle from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL).

He said that he was highly impressed with the work of Musk in the electric car market sphere. The meeting raises questions about the future vision of Fiat as the company has not shown interest in the electric car sphere so far, but something is on the anvil. The Fiat-Chrysler CEO also said that the company was planning to offer 10% shares of the Ferrari to the public, in 3Q2015.

Most carmakers are currently eyeing to establish a joint association with Google or Apple to offer smart technologies in their cars. If Apple is to launch its smartcar, then it is going to be a worthy wait. The CarPlay iOS feature that helps drivers use their iPhone without lifting their hands from the wheel is something that Apple is keen on sharing with carmakers, but there is no buzz till now.

Reports regarding Apple’s so-called Titan project have been doing the rounds lately. The company is said to be working on this secret project and unveil its first smartcar by 2024, but there have been no comments on the same by Apple so far.

Talking about the plans of the company, he said that Fiat-Chrysler is going to make a powerful foray into the luxury sports utility vehicles market in the near future. He said that Range Rover was a car that makes his blood boil as he wants his company to come up with something like that.

Asking auto companies to consider consolidation, Marchionne said that this would benefit the industry in increasing the profit margins. He did not rule out a possibility of asking Google or Apple to merge with their company if other automakers were not willing.