There's More Than One Name in This Little Black Book, Manley Tells Renault

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
theres more than one name in this little black book manley tells renault

Maybe that’s a dated reference in this age of smartphones and [s]hookup[/s] romance apps. Regardless, the list of potential partners for a prowling Fiat Chrysler doesn’t begin and end with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.

Oh sure, it wouldn’t mind getting down to business with the French-Japanese auto giant, but there’s plenty of fish in the sea. FCA knows it’s a catch, and wants to put Renault on notice that it has plenty of choice in who it goes home with.

It seems the advent of the Manley era hasn’t watered down the automaker’s penchant for amorous corporate overtures, which is a great thing for writers everywhere.

In last week’s earnings call, FCA CEO Mike Manley alluded to the failed attempt to lure Renault into a merger — a proposal sunk, perhaps only temporarily, by the demands of a protective French government and a hesitant Nissan.

“There’s little in the marketplace that is not covered by the portfolio we have, so long as we do the things right that we need to get right,” Manley said late last week, as reported by Bloomberg. “Could we accelerate something with a complimentary additional brand? The answer to that, of course, is yes.”

Making sure his company’s would-be merger partner took notice, Manley made explicit mention of the withdrawn proposal. “So are they the only opportunity?” he asked, referring to Renault. “The answer to that question would be a definitive ‘No.'”

A merger between FCA and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance would mean the creation of the world’s third-largest automaker, with joint R&D and platform/technology sharing leading to opportunities for all brands under the massive umbrella. It seems the door is still open for such a pair-up, as well as smaller potential partnerships. Basically, whatever interesting opportunity comes FCA’s way.

A FCA spokesperson said the automaker currently has no acquisitions in the works.

Manley’s remarks came as reports emerged of renewed negotiations between Renault and Nissan, with the French company allegedly mulling a reduction of its 43.4 percent stake in the Japanese automaker to ensure its support in a merger with FCA.

While FCA would prefer to have Renault-Nissan on board, Manley claims his company is nonetheless primed for growth. The lucrative Jeep brand hasn’t yet fully tapped the European market, he said, and the automaker’s China strategy will involve an expansion of the Fiat brand and the introduction of locally-built “white space” models to fill any gaps.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Aug 05, 2019

    Yeah if they were such a catch they wouldn't still be setting at the bar at closing time. It wasn't long after Daimler defiled Chrysler that they tried dumping off the Chrysler and Dodge brands to no takers, everyone asked about the pretty sister Jeep but no one wanted to touch the homely ones. Even after they relented and through Jeep into the mix, everyone said, sure we'll take her home but you can keep the rest. It wasn't until they found the drunk, and blind bankers that they found someone to take the whole mess home. Of course they didn't have a clue as to what they were doing. FCA only messed took it because it was free and they have been trying to find a suitor for years now.

    • Darex Darex on Aug 06, 2019

      Very well, and accurately stated. You forgot the part where they pursued the mail-order bride from the Orient -- who also said "no, thank you." Quite a pathetic and hollow threat, FCA. As if the French, of all people, don't know that game!

  • Steve203 Steve203 on Aug 05, 2019

    Floating buyout rumors to prop up the price of the stock has been SOP at FCA since Marchionne got the operation turned around. The only difference with the Renault deal was that Renault, alone among supposed FCA suitors, actually admitted to being interested. His talk of getting any growth out of China is delusional. Jeep volume is so low in China that in the first six months of this year, they only sold half as many cars as Jeep sells in the US in one month. Sales in China are down 48% for the first half of 2019 vs 2018. Fiat has essentially been withdrawn from China with the cancellation of the Viaggio and Ottimo a couple years ago.

  • Jeff S Some of us don't care either way we are not into this type of car. Most of these will be stored in garages waiting for their value to go up. As someone above noted this is an old body style which is retro 70s Challenger which after researching it came out in the 2008 MY which means a long run for a model that is in its 16th year. I have always liked these but if I bought one I would not spend this kind of money on one probably get the V-6 version and use it as a family car but then I am not into drag racing or muscle cars. For the type of car it is it has a decent rear seat and not too bad of a trunk. Most of us are not going to spend 100k for any vehicle at least currently so its not something most of us will buy and stick in a garage waiting for its value to increase. I am glad that these editions came out for those who can afford them and it keeps a little more color into what has become a very dull vehicle market but then with age I pick the dull appliance like reliable vehicle because that's what I need. Impressive car but not for me.
  • Jonathan The Germans. So organized they can appear disorganized. I agree with some others, classic names like Thunderbird, Imperial, Grand Prix, Ambassador etc. just have more appeal.
  • Bobbysirhan A friend had one when they first came out. He was CFO of some green California company and could charge the Volt at work. At home, the PHEV gave him an excuse to make his wife park her nicer car outdoors while the Volt get their condo's one-car garage. He liked the Volt, and he spent very little on energy during the 'first one's free!' era of EV ownership. Of course, the green company went bust soon after, and he wound up with a job that involved far more driving and ultimately the need for a more substantial car. I drove the Volt once after his wife had made a return trip to Los Angeles, depleting the battery. I don't know what a first gen Volt drives like with a charged battery, but it was really gutless with two adults, a yellow lab, and a dead battery. My other memory of it was that it had a really cramped back seat for a car that was about as large as a Civic. My friend who bought it liked it though, and that's not always been the case for GM vehicles.
  • MrIcky I think the Shakedown is more my speed of the last call editions- but this is impressive.
  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.