(Bobit) — Renault and Nissan executives have said they wish to cement their 20-year-old partnership, possibly in the form of a merger, to better compete on the world stage. Fiat Chrysler’s chairman is said to be seeking a buyer. Taken together, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and FCA sold more than 15 million vehicles worldwide in 2018, more than global leaders Volkswagen (10.8 million) and Toyota (10.6 million).
Do these circumstances make the French, Nissan, Italian, and American brands a match made in heaven? Possibly, according to a Financial Times report that suggests a Renault-Nissan merger could quickly be followed by the acquisition of Fiat Chrysler. FCA’s chairman, John Elkann, has been aggressively shopping his brands to competing manufacturers in recent months, adding a sense of urgency to the situation.
“FCA itself is actively seeking a partnership or merger, with chairman John Elkann meeting several rivals, including France’s PSA [Group], in order to sound out a potential deal to strengthen the carmaker,” the authors wrote. “It is possible that FCA has successfully merged with another group by the time Renault and Nissan sort out their own affairs, according to one person close to the alliance.”
The RNM Alliance produced 10.34 million vehicles in 2018, trailing VW and Toyota but leading General Motors (8.6 million) and Hyundai/Kia (7.4 million). Fiat Chrysler finished the year at No. 8, moving 4.8 million units, according to Bloomberg.
Former alliance head Carlos Ghosn was arrested and charged with a litany of financial crimes in Tokyo in November and released on bail March 6. In a January jailhouse interview, Ghosn told a Japanese newspaper he was the victim of a corporate conspiracy designed to derail a Renault-Nissan merger.
To read the full Financial Times report, click here.