Fiat CEO and self-proclaimed “Apple freak” Sergio Marchionne, is ready to embrace a future where Apple designs cars, but he wants his company to make it.
Marchionne made an appearance at the Geneva auto show today and said that if Apple’s really thinking about making a car on its own, they must have some type of illness.
“If they have any urges to make a car, I’d advise them to lie down and wait until the feeling passes,” said Marchionne, according to Reuters. “Illnesses like this come and go, you will recover from them, they’re not lethal.”
Instead of going it solo, the Fiat CEO suggested that Apple partner with the auto industry instead. Other automakers like Mercedes have said they will not become Apple’s Foxconn for cars. Marchionne doesn’t seem to see that as a downside though. He’s been working to consolidate Fiat by eliminating debt and boosting profit. A partnership with Apple could suit both side’s needs.
“I would assume that we have the credibility to be one of the players they have looked at,” Marchionne told the press. “There are parts of us that would be interesting for them. Apple has a language, and you have to be able to speak that language.”
Apple reportedly looked into partnering with BMW’s i3 team to build the Apple Car. It appears that those talks fell through though.
The company is rumored to have a team of over 1,000 employees working on the electric car project out of a secret office in Sunnyvale. The project has hit some road bumps though this year with project lead Steve Zadesky leaving the company for ‘personal reasons’. It’s launch may not happen until 2020, if at all.