Report: No Merger, but That Doesn't Mean PSA and Fiat Chrysler Aren't Planning a New Partnership

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Like characters on a long-running TV show, PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler remain the topic of intense speculation as to when they’ll hook up. There’s been romance in the past, including that time in 2007 when they spent the night and walked away with a series of jointly-developed small vans. The children’s names were Peugeot Bipper, Citroen Nemo and Fiat Fiorino. Only the latter survives to this day.

In the large van segment, FCA builds the Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer, and Citroen Jumper at its Italian Sevel Sud plant, with production recently extended through 2023. Thanks to PSA’s acquisition of GM’s European operations, Opel and Vauxhall-badged vans will soon roll from the FCA factory.

As rumors of a kiboshed merger deal swirl (FCA’s controlling family reportedly didn’t approve of the marriage), a new report claims there’s another limited partnership in the works.

According to sources who spoke with Bloomberg, the two automakers are engaged in talks, with the possible outcome being a pact to develop and build cars together in Europe.

Preliminary discussions are underway, the sources claim, on a joint “super platform” that would underpin a range of European models offered by both manufacturers. Lowered development costs for both parties would be an obvious perk. A partnership could be announced before the mid-point of this year, one source claimed, adding that there’s a chance the tie-up could grow beyond this one joint platform.

The past couple of years has seen the Fiat brand dwindle, taking a backseat to higher-margin FCA vehicles like those offered by the Jeep brand. Italian Fiat Punto production recently ended to make way for a baby Jeep model. Continuing a plan laid out by the late Sergio Marchionne, FCA is eager to expand the brand into new markets, developing Jeep models that can compete in a number of regions, while doing everything possible to save costs on lower-end FCA offerings. If this sounds an awful lot like PSA’s current strategy, you’re not alone.

Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month, FCA CEO Mike Manley said he was open to suggestions from potential suitors.

“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,” Manley said, adding that he’d be especially receptive to “any deal that would make Fiat stronger.”

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Steve203 Steve203 on Mar 30, 2019

    The Wall St chattering class strikes again. I fail to see what's in it for FCA. The Fiat 500 and Panda own the A segment. The Pug 108 and Citroen C1 each sell less than a third of what the 500 and Panda sell, each. The Pug 2008, Opel CrosslandX and Citroen C3 Aircross outsell the 500X and Renegade, in Europe, but the Renegade's global volume probably puts it ahead of the the PSA offerings. The Pug 3008 and Opel GrandlandX outsell the Compass handily in Europe, but globally the Compass probably outsells the PSA offerings. And would FCA want to dilute the Jeep image by sticking Peugeot, Opel and Citroen badges on Jeeps? The 308 and Astra each outsell the Tipo, but the Tipo is positioned differently as a cheap car only a bit nicer than a Dacia, not a Golf contender like the 308 and Astra.

  • Deanst Deanst on Apr 01, 2019

    Call me a pedant, but I can’t help but be annoyed when someone uses latter incorrectly.

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