Fiat Chrysler Seeks Merger With Renault
PARIS—Fiat Chrysler proposed on Monday to merge with France’s Renault to create the world’s third-biggest automaker (worth $40 billion) and combine forces in the race to make electric and autonomous vehicles. The merged company would produce some 8.7 million vehicles a year, leapfrogging General Motors and trailing only Volkswagen and Toyota.
Renault welcomed what it called a “friendly” offer. The company’s board met Monday at its headquarters outside Paris and said afterward that Renault will study the proposal “with interest.” In a statement, Renault said such a fusion could “improve Renault’s industrial footprint and be a generator of additional value for the Alliance” with Japan’s Nissan and Mitsubishi.
Fiat Chrysler’s offer comes at a key moment for Renault. The French manufacturer had wanted to merge fully with Nissan, but those plans were derailed by the arrest of boss Carlos Ghosn on financial misconduct charges in Japan.
The proposal raises questions regarding the current Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which makes more passenger cars than any one company. Although Fiat Chrysler says the merger with Renault would accommodate the alliance and lead to savings for them, it is unclear how the Japanese companies might react in the longer term to being tied to a much larger partner.