Renault and FCA deal unlikely to be revived

12 September 2019

Renault and FCA deal unlikely to be revived

12 September 2019

Renault CEO Thierry Bolloré has suggested that the merger between his company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is not going to happen, despite hopes of a revival.

Since the announcement earlier this year that the deal between the two companies had fallen through, various stories and announcements have circulated concerning ways to break down the barriers that caused the collapse in talks.

‘We are not talking to each other, this is in the past, the offer was on the table, it's no longer on the table,’ Bolloré said at the Frankfurt motor show, adding that it was a matter of regret.

Bolloré said he was sure FCA also regretted not gaining access to Renault-Nissan's so-called Common Module Family of architectures that is expected to underpin 70% of the alliance’s vehicles by 2020.

Nissan block

One of the obstacles encountered during talks was the opposition put up by Renault’s alliance partner Nissan. The two carmakers have had a strained relationship since the Carlos Ghosn affair became public last year.

However, the Japanese company was reported to be discussing ways to end the impasse, including a revised shareholding deal that would give the carmaker more say over its business. Then, earlier this week, it was announced that Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa is stepping down, seemingly improving chances of revived talks between the French carmaker and its Italian counterpart.

Bolloré did not directly answer when asked if Saikawa’s removal would offer a chance for Renault and Nissan to rebuild a relationship that soured after the arrest of Carlos Ghosn last November.

‘The top priority for Renault is the recovery at Nissan because an alliance can only be healthy when all partners are healthy,’ he said.

French boost

Additionally, the Japanese carmaker has been in talks with the French Government, which is also reported to have been against the merger. Its 15% stake in Renault makes it a majority shareholder. Yet the French Government has, in recent days, been more open to the idea, pushing for a greater alliance with Japan in efforts to boost the Renault-Nissan Alliance, perhaps with a potential FCA merger on its mind.

Bolloré’s comments now seem to signal an end to the matter, although it is not inconceivable that the carmakers will talk again in the future, perhaps about collaboration rather than a full merger.