Peugeot - Fiat Chrysler merger: a major coup?

Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot have agreed on a merger. The Italian-American company and its French rival plan to share the costs for new technologies such as electric cars and autonomous vehicles. However, Paris, for one, has yet to approve the deal. Europe's press assesses the prospects of success.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

A win-win merger

The merger is mutually beneficial, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung explains:

“The French are much farther ahead in the development of hybrid and battery-run electric cars. ... And compared with FCA [Fiat-Chrysler-Holding], Peugeot-Citroën's modular platform is far more advanced, like the one VW also uses, for example. For its part FCA is attractive for Peugeot-Citroën because the French company already has advanced plans for launching the Peugeot brand in North America. With the FCA plants on the American continent and the efficient dealership network, the French company will have the perfect foundation for a quick start in the US and Canada. And Fiat Chrysler also offers another American advantage: its partnership with the Alphabet subsidiary Google.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Striking while the iron is hot

As opposed to the failed merger between Renault and Nissan, Fiat Chrysler's merger with PSA is promising indeed, Le Figaro believes:

“The merger of the two mid-sized carmakers would result in a global giant with the strength to meet the challenges posed by a sector in a state of transformation. Secondly, because of the cultural proximity of the protagonists, a factor which is too often neglected: these two family groups have long maintained close ties. ... Finally, the political context is favourable: the French and Italian governments approve of the move, and the unions, although on their guard, are not opposed to it.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Many obstacles remain

La Repubblica welcomes the news of the merger but sees a number of obstacles:

“Will it all go smoothly? One of the clauses in the agreement is said to rule out a reduction in employee numbers. A good promise, but not easy to keep. The mega company will have now 400,000 employees around the globe. To guarantee that they all have work it will have to sell a lot more cars than are being built today. ... And if Paris takes an interventionist approach, demanding guarantees for the French plants, will the Italian government follow suit? ... Detroit, Paris and Turin [would now be] the fourth largest car company in the world - and in a position to play a decisive role in the approaching electric car revolution.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Time is against the new company

The Süddeutsche Zeitung is unconvinced by the merger:

“Fiat Chrysler is even further behind on electrification and mobility than the German producers were for a long time. ... PSA is further ahead in these areas, and Fiat Chrysler stands to gain considerable know-how through cooperation. But the big problem is that after such a merger there will be no time or energy left for this. Many decisions must be taken before a single jointly-manufactured e-car rolls off the assembly line: which plants should remain in operation, and which not? Where should future-oriented areas be combined? ... The planned merger with Renault failed even before it really got started, presumably because of questions such as these.”