Fiat Chrysler Boss Sergio Marchionne
Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne.Reuters

Italian automaker Fiat Chrysler may have just found a promising buyer/partner for its Magneti Marelli components unit. The auto giant's Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne has indicated that he views the chipmaker as a possible strategic partner, amid interest from several potential buyers for Magneti Marelli.

"We have a very good relationship with Samsung, both as a supplier and as a potential strategic partner," Marchionne said. "I happen to have a good relationship with Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae Yong as well because both serve on the board of Exor SpA," he said.

Marchionne, however, did not indicate clearly whether Samsung was preparing to bid for the Marelli unit. reports had claimed that the South Korean manufacturer was interested in Marelli's lighting, in-car entertainment and telematics business to streamline an alternate revenue channel other than its smartphone, chip-making and consumer good divisions.

Unlike the consumer goods industry, the auto industry works on fairly conservative principles one of which is a great emphasis on previous track record. Acquiring or even partly claiming a stake in Magneti Marelli could help Samsung surpass the high entry barrier in the industry.

Reports had claimed that Samsung's earlier negotiations with the Italian car-maker on the Marelli deal had slowed over valuation of the businesses. Now it seems Lee is planning to re-discuss the Magneti deal with Marchionne when the Samsung executive visits Europe.