To see Sergio Marchionne passing through a motor show on press day - especially a North American motor show - is to see power made real. He is always at the centre of media scrum, which follows him around like a giant cloud of people.
Most the hacks involved are either Italians, fascinated by Fiat’s effective takeover of Chrysler, or Americans, wanting to know what this king from over the water is going to do to with one of their biggest car companies.
Marchionne’s audacious - and so far successful - take-over of Chrysler also means that his thoughts on the wider car industry are much in demand. Earlier this week at the Detroit show, the media were all ears when Marchionne declared Fiat-Chrysler was open to another partnership.
Some years ago, he had famously stated that a mainstream carmaker needed to sell 5-6 million vehicles per year to be able to prosper over the longer term. At Detroit he upped that estimate to as many as 8 million vehicles per year, partly due to overcapacity in the European car industry. (Marchionne added that the financial crisis in the Euro zone will hamper Fiat-Chrysler’s attempts to hit 5.7million sales in 2014).
The logical conclusion, which Marchionne admitted the following day, was that Fiat-Chrysler needs another partner, one which would help propel such a super-alliance to combined sales well north of 8 million per year.