Despite announcing a partnership with Alphabet back in May for their Self-Driving Car Project in which Alphabet would be adding 100 Chrysler Pacifica's to their fleet, Fiat Chrysler is still worried about being left in the dust. Their competitors, GM, Ford, Tesla and many others have already been working on self-driving cars, and thus are much further ahead of Fiat Chrysler at this point. Due to this, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) have been looking for a tech partner to work with for autonomous vehicles. They approached Apple in April, about building cars for them. But that discussion went nowhere. Then struck the aforementioned deal with Alphabet the following month. Now, they are looking to partner up with Samsung.
Autonomous vehicles isn't the whole story for FCA and Samsung however. Samsung is reportedly interested in Magneti Marelli, the car-parts unit of Fiat Chrysler. Sergio Marchionne, Fiat's CEO, won't state whether Samsung is a suitor or not (and likely can't for legal reasons), but he appears to be using Magneti Marelli as a pawn to lure in Samsung as a partner. Marchionne did however mention that Magneti Marelli was drawing in interest from other companies. An analyst for Mediobanca, Massimo Vecchio stated that Marchione is "trying to pass the message that he is not interested in a straight sale" for Magneti Marelli. Instead he wants to use the sale "as a common platform to develop self-driving cars with Samsung."
When it comes to Magneti Marelli, Samsung is interested in them due to their in-car entertainment, lighting and telematics business. This is all according to those familiar with the situation. Recently, talks between the two companies have slowed due to differences in the valuation of Magneti Marelli. Fiat Chrysler really needs this partnership, as Marchionne is worried that with the changing auto industry, his company will be left out in the cold due to its small size. Making it difficult to compete with other larger automotive groups like General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen AG and even Toyota Motor Corp. On a personal level for Marchionee, selling off Magneti Marelli would achieve his goal of eliminating Fiat's debt before he retires. He's set to retire in 2019.