FILE PHOTO: The logo of FIAT carmaker is seen on a vehicle in Cairo, Egypt, May 19, 2019. Picture taken May 19, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/File Photo
Mohamed Abd El Ghany | Reuters
Fiat Chrysler and Renault are in advanced talks to merge the two automakers.
Sources say the talks, which have been happening over the last several weeks, have picked up speed in recent days and could lead to an announcement regarding a merger or partnership as soon as tomorrow.
The CEOs of both automakers have made it clear they are open to partnerships with other automakers that would give them the economies of scale to further cut costs both in terms of manufacturing as well as in developing vehicles. The move could be especially beneficial in Europe where auto sales overall are under pressure.
During Fiat Chrysler’s most recent earnings call, CEO Mike Manley was asked about the possibility of merging with another automaker. “We have made it clear in the past that we want to be active and proactive to develop our business and improve the value for our shareholders,” Manley told analysts. “We are going into an environment where there are going to be opportunities.”
Meanwhile, under former CEO Carlos Ghosn, Renault was increasingly interested in a full merger with Nissan, its partner in an alliance that has delivered mixed results. When the two automakers first formed their alliance in the late 1990s, the combination helped Nissan cut losses and ultimately become a highly profitable automaker. These days there’s growing tension between Nissan and Renault since the arrest and detention of Ghosn late last year. Japanese authorities have charged Ghosn with a number of crimes relating to his tenure as CEO of the Nissan-Renault alliance.
Whether Fiat Chrysler ultimately joins the Nissan-Renault alliance is unclear.
A partnership between Fiat Chrysler and Renault would also help the automakers pool resources for the development of electric and autonomous vehicles. Renault’s EV program is considered to be more advanced than Fiat Chrysler’s, but neither automaker is considered a leader in electric vehicles.
A spokesperson for Fiat Chrysler would not comment when reached by CNBC. Renault could not immediately be reached for comment.
CNBC’s Meghan Reeder contributed to this report.