There's More Than One Name in This Little Black Book, Manley Tells Renault
Maybe that’s a dated reference in this age of smartphones and
hookup 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Making sure his company’s would-be merger partner took notice, Manley made explicit mention of the withdrawn proposal.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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