Marchionne says FCA approached by several suitors for Magneti Marelli

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been approached by several suitors for its components business Magneti Marelli, the carmaker's CEO said, without giving names or mentioning how many.

Speaking to reporters at an event near Detroit in Sterling Heights, Mich., Sergio Marchionne declined to comment on whether FCA was in talks with South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co.

Shares in FCA rose sharply earlier this month after a report that Samsung could buy all or parts of Magneti Marelli.

A sale of the unit could help FCA pay off some debt at a time when the group remains overly exposed to a peaking U.S. auto market and its five-year investment plan is plagued by product delays. However, other reports have since suggested that the talks were up in the air because of differences over price and the assets to be included.

Magneti Marelli ranks No. 30 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $7.4 billion during its 2015 fiscal year.

Marchionne also indicated it is still possible that FCA will continue production of the compact Dodge Dart and the midsize Chrysler 200 sedans, despite much skepticism by industry analysts about the automaker's chance of landing a production partner for sedans in the U.S. market.

"We'll have an answer, hopefully, soon," Marchionne said, adding, "to the extent that we can share the work with somebody else, we'll probably do it."

Marchionne said FCA is in discussions with several possible partners about "real viable options" to continue midsize and compact sedan production for the U.S. market. At the start of this year, he said the automaker would stop making the two light-selling models and look for a production partner.

In other comments, Marchionne said:

• He won't comment on the ongoing Canadian labor talks with the Unifor union or the future of the company's plant in Brampton, Ont.

• The company's new U.S. monthly auto sales reporting process is improved and working well. He wouldn't comment on dealer litigation related to past sales reporting practices. Autonews

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