Fiat Chrysler may have picked the best possible partner and future-proofed itself by allying with Renault. Despite that, the deal leaves plenty of challenges and raises new questions.
A week ago, a hungry Chinese or Indian automaker seemed a likelier mate for FCA than Renault. The fear was a rapacious wannabe would make a too-rich-to-refuse bid for FCA, then strip its acquisition of brands and technology without regard for the company’s U.S.-based manufacturing, engineering, design and employment.
The reality today is a 50/50 partnership, and Renault’s history suggests it plays well with others, despite current strife in its alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi.
The proposed merger, which Renault’s board supports, would give FCA access to electric vehicles and other technologies the Italian-American automaker gave short shrift. It makes FCA a heavyweight, an integral part of a bigger automaker than GM or Ford, and potentially a cornerstone of the largest automaker the world has ever seen. It’s an industry-changing deal that would delight FCA’s late CEO Sergio Marchionne, who enjoyed few things more than flouting convention.
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