Bill Ford, chairman of Ford, has revealed he had discussions with Sergio Marchionne, then-CEO of Fiat Chrysler (FCA), about merging the two companies.
At the EcoMobility conference in Tel Aviv, Ford revealed to journalists, including those from Automotive News Europe, he had a "number of dinners together [with Marchionne] talking about ... whether Ford and FCA would be a good fit".
Saying "the timing certainly wasn't ideal", the discussions didn't end in a deal.
In the end Ford concluded: "We had our own issues and challenges ahead of us. I felt like it wasn’t going to help us solve those problems. If anything, it might have slowed us down."
During his last few years, and starting with a presentation titled "Confessions of a Capital Junkie", Marchionne was vocal in his advocacy for consolidation within the automotive industry.
According to Bill Ford, technology and platform partnerships will become ever common. Citing a need for scale, Ford said, "I think you’re going to see a lot more of what we did with VW".
He also warned in the coming years there "will be winners and losers in our business like you’ve never seen before".
Earlier this year, Ford and Volkswagen signed a deal to jointly develop their next generation of utes and vans. The two automakers are also expected to pool their resources in the self-driving car arena.
Rumours persist Ford could end up using Volkswagen's upcoming MEB electric car platform too.