FCA's Manley Open to Alliances, but Won't Relinquish Grasp on Maserati

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
fcas manley open to alliances but wont relinquish grasp on maserati

Ford and Volkswagen cosied up last year, cementing their relationship in an automotive alliance announced earlier this year, but could the same thing happen with Fiat Chrysler and France’s resurgent PSA Group?

PSA, which plans to sell Peugeots in North America by 2026, is reportedly hunting for a partner, and FCA Mike Manley isn’t ruling out the possibility.

The speculation stems from a Monday Bloomberg report, which stated PSA wants to partner with another automaker to help its global sales push. Sources claim PSA CEO Carlos Tavares met with advisors to explore a merger, partnership, or alliance — any form of tie-up that could help his company sell more vehicles in new markets.

In the CEO’s sights are FCA, Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata, and possibly even General Motors, the sources claim. Of the three, FCA was particularly attractive. PSA currently sources 80 percent of its global sales from Europe, whereas FCA is making inroads across the globe with its Jeep brand.

Asked about the issue at the Geneva Motor Show, Manley responded, “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.”

He added, interestingly, that FCA wouldn’t close the door on “any deal that would make Fiat stronger.” Fiat finds itself in trouble worldwide, with certain small models falling out of favor in Europe and a North American brand reentry that fizzled after leaving the launch pad.

Tavares confirmed he’s game shortly thereafter. Responding to Manley’s sort-of overture, Tavares said, “We love to discuss with people who are looking for deals,” adding that, in today’s climate of shifting public tastes and rapidly evolving technology, “if we don’t move, then we die.”

For PSA, hopping into bed with FCA would help it gain access to American buyers and possibly even offer up opportunities for local production. The French automaker has said it plans to import vehicles from Europe and China as it finds its footing in the U.S.

While on the mic, Manley took the time to refute rumors that FCA’s Maserati brand is currently up for grabs, potentially to China’s Geely. Spinoff rumors once hounded Manley’s predecessor, Sergio Marchionne, who eventually admitted the Italian luxury marque wasn’t mature enough to stand on its own.

“Maserati is one of our really beautiful brands and it has an incredibly bright future… No,” Manley told reporters.

[Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg]

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2 of 16 comments
  • MoDo MoDo on Mar 06, 2019

    They would be very stupid to sell Maserati - yeah, right now they are weak but the brand is going electric eventually. That Maserati badge is going to have merit among a sea of electrics one day.

  • WallMeerkat WallMeerkat on Mar 08, 2019

    PSA and Fiat have partnered before. For years they've been building vans together - the RAM ProMaster for example is sold as a Peugeot and a Citroen. During the Minivan phase they sold common models, differentiated by grilles.

  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).