Market Overview

Five Auto-Makers That Chrysler-Fiat Could Buddy Up With


It was revealed on Wednesday that Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is targeting global sales in 2012 of between 4.1 million and 4.4 million vehicles.

According to the Washington Post, those targets are up from last year, when the two automakers between them sold 4 million cars.

So how are they going to do it? Well, one of Marchionne's ideas involves examining other possible collaborations with "new or current" partners in Asia. At the shareholder's meeting this week, the CEO said that, "We are continuing to look at new opportunities for cooperation both with existing partners and with potential new partners, but we have nothing to add on this."

With that in mind, Benzinga took a look at some of the potential partners in Asia that might consider hopping into bed with Chrysler and Fiat.

1. Honda
Honda (NYSE: HMC) might actually be a good call and not just a shot in the dark. The last month has seen the company lose ground while the auto industry in general has been doing startlingly well. March sales were down 5% from last year at 126,999, while most other companies were reporting numbers up from last year. In fact, Honda was the only major automaker to report a drop in sales last month. While Honda spokesmen have been saying that the numbers are deceptive, they will be voicing concerns behind closed doors. A partnership might sound pretty appealing right now. Chrysler-Fiat would be getting an established, respected brand. Sounds like a win-win.

2. Hyundai
Hyundai have had different problems. U.S. sales rose 13% to hit a March sales record of 69,728 vehicles, but according to the LA Times, those numbers have left Hyundai wondering where to get more cars to sell. It's a victim of its own success. “The industry feels really strong,” said John Krafcik, CEO. He's right, but can Hyundai cope? A partnership seems unlikely but it would ease some pressure.

3. Nissan
This one seems like a real long shot. Nissan had a spectacular March, with U.S. sales figures rising 12.5% from the previous year and the company calling it a "record month in company history". What's more, Nissan are well capable of coping with extra demand. Don't see this one happening.

4. Kia
Kia, too, had a record-breaking March, selling over 50,000 units and up 30% from March 2011. There's no denying that the progress the company has made in such a short space of time is impressive, bordering on astounding. However, the Kia brand might not have enough "swish" factor for Chrysler-Fiat yet.

5. Toyota
Yeah, very unlikely. Toyota (NYSE: TM) has been killing it with the Prius and it has no obvious reason to partner with anyone. Maybe it would benefit it in the global market, but no, we can't see it. Prius sales went up 54% from a year ago. The company would probably be a dream partner for Chrysler-Fiat, but we can only see their advanced getting shot down like a drunk guy in a bar.

Posted-In: Earnings News Retail Sales Management M&A Global Success Stories Best of Benzinga


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