Samsung wants to make cars. Or at least, make parts of cars, in a similar supply-side capacity to the position it currently occupies in the mobile device and television world. A new Bloomberg report suggests Samsung is in talks with Fiat Chrysler to acquire some or all of 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 north of $3 billion according to Bloomberg’s sources, would 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 car business isn’t nearly as well-developed.
Samsung has an internal team working on in-car infotainment tech, vehicle components and autonomous driving systems, and it invested in China’s homegrown electric auto company BYD Co., as Bloomberg notes, but it’s far from synonymous with the auto industry as a key supplier in the way it is with smartphones and other computing devices. An acquisition at this level could be a big shortcut to broader presence in the industry.
While other tech giants, including Samsung’s chief rival Apple, have been pegged as making big bets on cars as an important center of the future high-tech industry, Samsung’s efforts on that front have been relatively low-key. It’s a safe bet that even beyond this sizeable acquisition, however, the smartphone leader is deeply considering its automotive options.