The exchange was straightforward.
"Sergio," began Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas on Fiat Chrysler's first-quarter earnings call. "Jeep and Ram ... are these businesses large enough, let's say together or separately, strong enough, independent enough to exist as a stand-alone entity outside of FCA, like Ferrari? "
"Yes," Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne responded.
Let the speculation begin. There was no follow-up question on Wednesday's call, so it's hard to know whether Marchionne and his team have seriously considered the idea. Following the call, a spokesperson for Fiat Chrysler declined to offer further comment to CNBC.
Yet Marchionne's track record shows anything is possible.
If there's one motivation that drives him as a CEO, it's making the best deals possible to generate cash for the parent company or a hefty return for shareholders.
Look at how Fiat Chrysler spun off Ferrari in late 2015. Before the luxury automaker's initial public offering and the eventual distribution of RACE shares to Fiat Chrysler shareholders, FCA's market cap was between $15 billion and $16 billion.
After unlocking the value of Ferrari, the two companies had a combined market cap of $21 billion. Since their split, the value of both automakers has continued to climb. Their combined market cap now tops $31 billion.