DETROIT -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been approached by several suitors for its components business Magneti Marelli, the carmaker's CEO, Sergio Marchionne, said, without giving names or mentioning how many.
Marchionne declined to comment on whether FCA was in talks with South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics.
Shares in FCA rose sharply earlier this month after a report that Samsung could buy all or parts of Magneti Marelli. 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.
Marchionne reiterated that the inclusion of Magneti Marelli in FCA's portfolio was not mandatory over the long term and the carmaker would consider opportunities to leverage its expertise in electronics and automotive lighting, especially given the car industry's push into assisted and autonomous driving.
Marchionne is likely to desire a buyer that would ensure a stable supply of components to FCA plants, which churn out a range of products from Fiat 500 minicars to sporty Maseratis.
He said FCA is open to a strategic alliance and "a way of leveraging Magneti Marelli's strength going forward."
Marchionne was speaking to reporters Friday at an expanded FCA stamping plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
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.
Samsung has identified automotive components as a growth driver as sales in its existing businesses including smartphones have slowed. Acquiring a proven supplier such as Magneti Marelli could help it overcome the high entry barrier in an industry known for its conservatism and emphasis on track record.
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.
Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200 hope
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.
He declined to discuss the future of the Brampton assembly plant in Ontario, which is part of ongoing labor talks with the Canadian union UNIFOR. "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."