Shareholders from FCA and PSA voted Monday to merge creating world’s 4th-largest auto company.
The final obstacle has been cleared to officially create Stellantis, the world’s 4th-largest auto company, with the binding of PSA Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. With the overwhelming approval of shareholders, Stellantis’ worldwide capacity will follow Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. Shares of Stellantis will launch shortly and will trade in New York, Milan and Paris.
Within the next several weeks, Tavares will run Stellantis and he holds the tie-breaking vote on the 11-seat board. FCA chairman John Elkann will be the Stellantis chairman (he is heir to the Fiat-founding Agnelli family and FCA’s biggest shareholder). FCA CEO Mike Manley will head North American operations.
Will Chrysler see the ax?
To be clear, the following points are speculative – Stellantis has not made any official announcements regarding individual brands yet.
With this massive merger, significant changes are on the horizon. Platforms, design and technology will be shared. New models will enter production, and there will be sacrifices. Carlos Tavares has a reputation for cutting off low profit, or dyeing brands. Many believe that Chrysler (as a brand name) is doomed. Right now, Chrysler technically has two vehicles – the anachronistic 300C and the recently updated Pacifica (née: Voyager). The Chrysler Pacifica is a strong selling vehicle, and it’s one of the only PHEV minivans in its class in the U.S. Unfortunately, the Chrysler 300C sold less than 6,000 models in 2020.
It’s possible that Chrysler brand can be revitalized with the introduction of badge-sharing Peugeot models. Chrysler could give Tavares something he’s wanted for years; a foothold in the United States’ market. The Peugeot 5008, 3008 and e-2008 crossovers have the platforms, technology and design that could fit struggling Chrysler nicely.
Whether Stellantis opts to save or give the brand Chrysler the axe remains to be seen, but not for long. It’s a good bet that Chrysler’s fate has already been decided, and we should know soon.