By on September 21, 2017

hyundai-sonata-eco-grille logo

Snubbed by both the Germans and the Chinese, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is continuing its journey to find the automaker that will sweep it off its feet and say, “Let’s build a factory together.” However, if CEO Sergio Marchionne maintains that FCA will be bought by an established automaker, he’s running out of options. The automotive dating pool isn’t particularly deep.

While there was some stirrings of vague Korean interest when news broke of talks between FCA and Chinese automakers, those rumors dissipated quickly. But reports of a possible business deal between Hyundai and the Italian-American company surfaced recently after Great Wall Motors shrugged off its proposed bid for Jeep. FCA later said it had not received any offer from the Chinese manufacturer.

Presumably, Great Wall would have used FCA to supplement its sport utility sales and begin making moves on North America. Another brand that might be interested in bolstering its supply of SUVs is Hyundai — something the South Korean press has been buzzing about all week. 

According to The Korean Herald, industry rumors of a possible merger between the two have been happening for a while. Lee Jae-il, an analyst with Eugene Investment & Securities, said in a recent report that Hyundai Motor would seriously benefit from the acquisition due to an expanded portfolio (SUVs and trucks) and higher consumer awareness of FCA brands in the United States and Europe.

Lee estimates a South Korean acquisition of FCA would cost roughly 11.2 trillion won (or $9.83 billion) if you included Maserati and high-tech parts unit Magneti Marelli, but only about 5.6 trillion won without them. That might be a good deal, especially since Hyundai is having problems with China right now and could use a stronger global footprint.

However, even though the American half of Fiat Chrysler would flesh out the brand’s portfolio extensively, the Italian portion wouldn’t add much, as South Korea is already pretty good at producing small cars.

At present, FCA is denying any and all rumors of a possible merger in Asia. We’ll see what comes of these rumors and continue musing about what Hyundai Fiat Chrysler Motormobiles might look like in the meantime.

[Imgae: Hyundai]

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40 Comments on “Rumors of FCA Seeking Asian Partner Reignite — This Time With Hyundai...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    JUST DO IT!

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Hyundai: “Go away.”

  • avatar
    sirwired

    This match certainly makes more sense than GM or VW.

    • 0 avatar
      Ermel

      Marginally.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      They’re more on par for quality and manufacturing standards with each other than at first glance. A partnership shouldn’t tarnish either sides reputation or perception. Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram have already been dumped by the Germans, whore’d out by the government to the Italians… Hyundai as a brand has plateaued and have their company, currency and country in turmoil which isn’t going to help.

      Sergio promised the Italian’s if they gave him control of their company he would pay their bills on the debt Fiat/Afla/Maserati was carrying and revive the brands. He went to school in Canada near Detroit and learned how the governments were propping up the auto industry. He quickly took over the position and of both companies when the US&CND governments specified that they would grant the bailout money only if Sergio-“A sweater is always better” was in charge of both companies.

      He built a

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        He built what he said he would but they have no plans for future product or technology development. He has said he doesn’t think it’s smart for manufacturers to be making individual engines, transmissions and platforms. He wants someone else to do all the work and he will slap a jeep badge on it.

        I wonder how many hybrid pacificas he has sold so far…
        I have only seen one 2017 Pacifica with my own eyes of any variation in the wild. Can’t say I have even noticed them on dealership lots and I am at a rural Ottawa area Chrysler dealer every Friday morning. Lots of Wrangler Unlimited Chief editions with miss aligned doors and $52k stickers

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Eh??

        Hyundai and Kia are well above average in reliability rankings here and over in Europe whereas the FCA brands are near or at the bottom.

        Would be a risky move for Hyundai for Jeep and RAM as FCA has high legacy costs.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I made this suggestion on the Hyundai thread the other day. It might not be a perfect match, but it does work well on many levels.

    I agree with sirwired, it seems more realistic and beneficial to both parties than GM or VW.

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    FCA is officially the fat chick at the bar that no one wants to go home with.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    The biggest issue is that Sergio thinks FCA is worth more than it is……

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    Well, if this happens, my next car will be either a loaded USA or Canadian-made Buick or a loaded Honda Accord. I don’t want a 300 or a Grand Cherokee that has had any influence from Hyundai. I’ve already crossed MBZ off my list for their blobby design theme.

    At least Fiat is keeping Fiat separate from CJDR for the most part, minus a few models here and there. I have a feeling Hyundai would “simplify” everything, so something like a JGC would be a remolded Santa Fe, drivetrain, platform at all. No thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I would think a Santa Fe based on a Grand Cherokee would be far more likely. Why would it be the other way around? Because Hyundai is known for its awesome SUVs?

      If any Chrysler/Dodge/etc vehicles were Hyundai sourced, I’m sure it would be FWD sedans, and maybe RWD replacements for the 300/etc based off Genesis platforms.

      I don’t see Jeep looking to Hyundai for SUVs any more than Hyundai would look to Dodge/Chrysler for how to build and market a decent selling FWD compact/midsize sedan.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    for the win FCA-Hyundai merger = bad labor-management relations on at least 3 continents!

    If a suitor is patient enough, they can pick FCA’s carcass clean of the good parts during the next recession–2019/2020/whenever, who knows.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    The fly in the ointment is FCA’s Union … The Union will never get along with the Koreans and vise versa

  • avatar
    thegamper

    It makes sense in that it gives Hyundai Jeep and Ram. We can all think of the possible car lineups with Chrysler badged Hyundai’s, Genesis derived 300, Chrysler Santa Fe, Sonata 200, Hyundai Pacifica, etc, etc. But that is a silly number of models especially on the car/sedan front where volume is declining.

    It would make most sense to continue selling Hyundai/Kia/Genesis cars, kill Dodge and Chrysler, sell Jeep SUVs and Ram Trucks, use Hyundai platforms for Fiat in other markets. Alfa Romeo and Maserati as the ultra premium brands. That’s 8 brands right there. That’s a lot of marketing, engineering, etc.

    There will be a culling somewhere along the line. Not to mention all the dealer overlap.

    • 0 avatar
      aquaticko

      That’s my problem with this idea, in my mind. The draw for Hyundai is the same as the draw for any other companies proposed to merge with FCA. The only valuable parts of FCA are Jeep and Ram, and (potentially) Maserati/Alfa Romeo. The namesake of the group–Chrysler–and Dodge are basically just drags on the company at this point. Additionally, Hyundai as a whole has a far, far stronger position in Europe–and the rest of the world–than Chrysler, and Chrysler’s not particularly strong in China. As soon as the whole THAAD situation between China/South Korea is resolved, the company could probably very quickly rebound there, as well, given the popularity of Korean products in China generally.

      Hyundai just needs to readjust their production capacity to suite current market tastes, maybe expand U.S. production–why not share facilities with Chrysler?–and wake its management up to shift focus off of their fairly stagnant domestic market, and its short-term issues should be taken care of. The longer-term issues–like brand image, and the development of Genesis–wouldn’t really be helped by this merger. I just don’t see why it’s worth it for Hyundai.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        Jeep alone must be worth half the price tag. It has to be one of the most recognizable automotive brands in the world. With proper development it could be much bigger than it is particularly if the crossover craze continues. The American pickup market is practically a license to print money for the domestic automakers. There is definitely some good stuff to be had not to mention the economies of scale that volume brings. I think it can work, but the combined company has to cut some fat. Chrysler, Dodge and Fiat seem the most likely candidates. But not being in the auto business, not sure how practical it is to feed those struggling brands product to rebadge and Chase additional volume. Maybe it is worth it to put different sheet metal and interior bits on a hyundai and sell it as a Chrysler for an additional 60k units of volume. Certainly would make dealers happy.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Hellcat Veloster!

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    So, at least for North America Hyundai folds RAM into Jeep, keeps the Wrangler and Full Sized Truck and gradually fills out the rest of the line with rebadged Hyundai products as they replace models. Can the rest. I wouldn’t mind though seeing Chrysler reinvigorated with all those luxury cars Hyundai wants to sell but can’t because you have to go to a Hyundai dealer to buy them. You’d really have to sink money into the brand though because no luxury buyer wants to go to a Chrysler dealer either. Still though, the Pacifica, Equus, Genesis, a couple high trim crossovers, maybe a BOF offering based on the Ram platform, and a premium FWD car could fill out a showroom and combined with RAM trucks and the Wrangler open some new doors for the brand.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Don’t you mean “lets close factories together”?

  • avatar
    RHD

    The merging and reselling of car companies resembles a century-long game of worldwide Monopoly. So now we put the company names where the streets are, loosely based on the perceived quality, desirability and value of their products. There are not enough streets for the car companies, so unfortunately some will be left out. Your opinions will vary, so chime in!

    Brown (Dark Purple)
    Old Kent Road/Mediterranean Avenue Yugo
    Whitechapel Road/Baltic Avenue Daewoo
    Light Blue
    The Angel Islington/Oriental Avenue Great Wall
    Euston Road/Vermont Avenue Suzuki
    Pentonville Road/Connecticut Avenue Holden
    Pink
    Pall Mall/St. Charles Place Skoda
    Whitehall/States Avenue Fiat
    Northumberland Avenue/Virginia Avenue Peugeot
    Orange
    Bow Street/St. James Place Volkswagen
    Marlborough Street/Tennessee Avenue Buick
    Vine Street/New York Avenue Ford
    Red
    The Strand/Kentucky Avenue Nissan
    Fleet Street/Indiana Avenue Subaru
    Trafalgar Square/Illinois Avenue Audi
    Yellow
    Leicester Square/Atlantic Avenue Toyota
    Coventry Street/Ventnor Avenue Mercedes Benz
    Piccadilly/Marvin Gardens Porsche
    Green
    Regent Street/Pacific Avenue Lexus
    Oxford Street/North Carolina Avenue Jaguar
    Bond Street/Pennsylvania Avenue Aston Martin
    Dark Blue
    Park Lane/Park Place Bentley
    Mayfair/Boardwalk Bugatti
    Stations
    King’s Cross Station/Reading Railroad Volvo
    Marylebone Station/Pennsylvania Railroad Jeep
    Fenchurch St Station/B. & O. Railroad Chevrolet
    Liverpool Street Station/Short Line Isuzu
    Utilities
    Electric Company Tesla
    Water Works Saab

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      (If TTAC management would like to bump this up to a blog post, permission is granted!)

      Wait a second… We have to add Go, Jail, Free Parking, Chance and Community Chest! I guess we can leave it up to the B&B to offer their suggestions.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Hyundai is about the only company left that remotely makes sense.

    Anyone would love to have Jeep – let’s take that off the table.

    Hyundai could use RAM, FCA really doesn’t bring any midsizers to the table worth a thing, Chrysler desperately needs a new platform for their vehicles, Hyundai doesn’t have a minivan (Kia does).

    It is about all FCA has got left. On the other hand Hyundai has it’s own issues.

  • avatar
    Manta9527

    Rumor or not, an FCA partnership with Hyundai would make sense, since Chrysler, Hyundai and Mitsubishi were partners in what was called the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance, or GEMA.

    Speaking for myself, though, it would be nice if FCA were to partner with Suzuki and be a better partner for them than Volkswagen was.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    Hyundai has money, tons of technology along with a lineup that people have no strong feelings towards. FCA has no money, is the technology laggard amongst the major players, but builds cars people love to death and are full of character.

    If the merger goes through, there’s one thing that should happen. Phase Genesis out and let the Italians rework the high-end models into Maseratis and the G70 into an Alfa Romeo. Seriously, Lexus earned prestige (just because the mob here doesn’t like them doesn’t mean the buying public doesn’t like them) the hard way by offering a worthy and in many qualities, superior product and luxury ownership experience to the established players at the time. Although Genesis might be able to match the competition and even offer products that are superior in some, and I repeat some, aspects, unless they either significantly drop their prices and create something special that impacts the current luxury market like the LS400 and NSX did in the 1990’s, then I’m not sure Korean Infiniti will survive. Why not use Maserati as the luxury line and Alfa as the sport line?

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I think where a merger like this would get expensive would be with the dealer buyouts and closures. Way too many distribution points to have the same cars/trucks on the dealer lots which would be across the street from one another in a lot of cases. I would think in the U.S. the C/J/D/R has more brand cache than Hyundai and a better reputation. Most of the C/J/D stores are new and nice facilities. There are still some really skanky Hyundai stores out there that need to be torn down as that is the only way to rid the place of the stale Marlboro stench.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    This wouldn’t be a merger at all. Look at the potential cost listed, $9.83 billion. FCA market cap is $28 billion, so that just represents the controlling interest of Exor, the Agnelli family holding company.

    In essence Hyundai would become the new manager of FCA, but not the full owner of the company. They’d just be allowing Sergio’s bosses to finally bail out of the high capital, low margin auto business, by taking on all FCA’s problems and debt.

    That’s a great deal for Exor, The Agnellis and Sergio, but an expensive headache for Hyundai. If FCA’s cash hoard, unspendable since it reduces the debt to a reasonable “net” figure, is raided as part of the deal, it would be a disaster for Hyundai.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Breaking news – A source close to JLR/ Tata has leaked that JLR have a war chest to go out and acquire more premium brands. Allegedly Alfa, Mazerati and possibly Jeep are interesting them.

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