Samsung would like to see its poleposition in the electronics industry repeated in automobiles, at least on the automobile parts side. The electronics and mobile phone behemoth is said to be looking to acquire some, or all, of Fiat Chrysler’s parts-making subsidiary, Magneti Marelli, which provides lighting, in-car entertainment and telematics to OEMs for use in their vehicles. The deal, which could be worth over $3 billion, would allow Samsung to occupy a similar supply-side capacity in the autoindustry to what it currently enjoys in mobile devices and televisions, and help accelerate Samsung’s existing efforts to become a more important part of the automotive supply chain.
Samsung has a dominant position in the production of memory chips, TVs and smartphones, both as a first-party consumer brand and as a supplier, but its involvement in the car business is limited. Though the company has an internal team working on incar infotainment tech, vehicle components and autonomous driving systems, and it invested in China’s homegrown electric auto company BYD Company, it is far from synonymous with the auto industry as a key supplier in the way it is with smartphones and other computing devices.
An acquisition of Magneti Marelli could be a big shortcut to broader presence in the auto industry. It is a safe bet that even beyond this sizeable acquisition, the smartphone leader is deeply considering its automotive options, especially given that its chief mobile rival Apple, is rumored to be making big investments in cars as an important center of the future high-tech industry.