Perspectives from ISB

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, also known as FCA, is an Italian-controlled multinational corporation and currently the world’s seventh-largest auto maker. Exor S.p.A, an Italian investment group owned by the Agnelli family, owns 29.19% of FCA and controls 44.31% through a loyalty voting mechanism. The company traces its history back to 1899 when the first Fiat automobile was produced.

FCA was the first major automaker to strike a deal with Google on driverless cars. Fiat and Google agreed last month to develop about 100 self-driving prototypes based on the carmaker’s Pacifica minivan. Now the company has started discussions on a similar partnership with Uber Technologies Inc. FCA has also initiated contacts with on self-driving vehicles for the web retailer’s deliveries. Earlier the company had pursued a partnership with Apple, to build their upcoming self-driven car.

This focus on tie-ups with tech companies for the development of next generation vehicles is seen by some analysts as a risky strategy for the debt ridden company. While it may enable the family business to spring-board from traditional car making to a futuristic supplier of transport platforms, it may also be relegated to the role of simple hardware producer for the tech companies.