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The Car Industry Is Losing Its Head Over Uber

Though a student of philosophy, Sergio Marchionne gets right to the point when it comes to one of the big trends sweeping the auto business:

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“Contrary to what some of my colleagues believe, we are not in the mobility business. We don’t move people around... At the end of the day, we are only building the tools that allow people to be mobile. I don’t want to buy into the distribution machine like GM did by paying $500 million for a 10-percent stake in Lyft.” 1

I disagree with the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV boss about many things, but he's right to be dubious about his industry’s splashing of cash on "mobility services": a catch-all for stuff like ride-hailing and car-sharing. While the shift from combustion engine to electric vehicles is happening and autonomous driving will come too, in time, we’re a long way from automatic car capsules à la Minority Report.

Yet carmakers have been at it again this week. Jaguar Land Rover disclosed a $25million investment in Lyft, while Daimler AG took part in a $500 million funding round for Careem, a...