FCA, Peugeot moving forward with merger, according to reports

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is considering a merger proposal with PSA Group of France, parent company of Peugeot, October 29, 2019. (Photo courtesy of FCA)

One of the Big Three Detroit automakers is going ahead and merging with a group owning several European makes.

As BlackburnNews.com reported Tuesday night, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) was said to be in talks with PSA Group, a French conglomerate that owns French automakers Peugeot and Citroen, German manufacturer Opel and British make Vauxhall. Both parties confirmed Wednesday that merger talks are happening.

“Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. confirms there are ongoing discussions aimed at creating one of the world‘s leading mobility groups. FCA has nothing further to add at this time,” read a statement on the FCA corporate website.

A statement on the official PSA Group website read, “Following recent reports on a possible business combination between Groupe PSA and FCA Group, Groupe PSA confirms there are ongoing discussions aiming at creating one of the world‘s leading automotive groups.”

The Wall Street Journal was first to report on a possible union between the automotive groups, and the paper said Wednesday that the PSA Group board of directors had approved the merger with the FCA board’s decision still to come.

Detroit television station WXYZ reported Wednesday afternoon that an official announcement could come as soon as Thursday morning. A conference call and webcast have been set by FCA for 9 a.m. Eastern time Thursday to discuss third-quarter earnings, though it is not known if an announcement on a possible merger is also on the agenda.

If the merger goes through, it will create the fourth-largest automaker in the world, after Toyota, Volkswagen Group and Hyundai-Kia. Detroit-based General Motors is currently fourth worldwide, with Ford fifth.

FCA is no stranger to merger talks. A planned union with French automaker Renault fell through earlier this year when FCA failed to get the backing of the French government, a substantial Renault stockholder. After Chrysler filed for bankruptcy during the 2009 economic collapse, the Italian-based Fiat purchased the Chrysler shares bought by the U.S. government as part of its bailout, then completed a merger in 2011. Fiat-Chrysler has two headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan and Turin, Italy.

WXYZ cited auto industry analysts who do not expect any merger to affect Chrysler’s upcoming contract talks with the United Auto Workers.

FCA’s Canadian subsidiary has a strong presence in Windsor-Essex and Ontario. The Windsor Assembly Plant produces the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Pacifica minivans and will soon begin production on the reincarnated Chrysler Voyager model. The Brampton Assembly Plant builds the Dodge Charger and Challenger, with the Chrysler 300. FCA Canada’s headquarters is in Windsor.