Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Renault are in advanced discussions about a possible alliance, according to a report from the Financial Times citing an anonymous “person familiar with the matter.” The news isn’t particularly surprising, as FCA has been a constant subject of merger and alliance talks for as long as many of us can remember. We’ve reported on a potential tie-up between these two automakers several times, as far back as 2008 and as recently as two months ago.
FCA CEO Mike Manley has mentioned the company’s openness to merging with another automaker. At the Geneva Motor Show a few months back, he said, “We have a strong independent future, but if there is a partnership, a relationship or a merger which strengthens that future, I will look at that.”
It’s no secret that FCA is much stronger in the United States than it is in Europe. For its part, Renault has basically zero presence in the United States. A partnership or potential alliance between the two could shore up each automaker’s weak spots and allow the group to split investment money into new technologies, including electric vehicles and autonomy.
Of course, Renault is already tied up with Nissan and Mitsubishi, but that partnership has been a little tattered since the arrest of former Nissan and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn on charges of financial misconduct in Japan. And in addition to Renault, FCA is understood to have discussed various partnership strategies with the PSA Peugeot Citroën group.
What a final agreement – if there’s any agreement at all – could look like between the two global automakers remains to be seen, and the report from Financial Times cautions that many different options for FCA and Renault are currently on the table. In other words, stay tuned.