Archive for the ‘FCA’ Category

FCA Adds to Electric Vehicle Arsenal with New Agreement

Deal gives future EV, hybrid owners easy charger access.

by on Jun.14, 2019

Jeep will produce a battery-electric version of the Renegade that will be available in Europe.

For an automaker with seemingly no battery-electric car program to speak of, Fiat Chrysler suddenly has collected a bunch of assets needed to jump into the EV market with both feet. The automaker signed an agreement with European utilities Enel and Engie to offer charging points for its coming battery-electric products.

FCA would have been much farther along in the EV race if a proposed merger with Renault had gone through; however, the company isn’t letting that be much more than a hiccup on its sudden progress in the segment.

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Last June the company announced plans to invest 9 billion euros, or about $10 billion, during the next five years to introduce hybrid and electric cars in all of its markets. Currently, it offers a plug-in hybrid version of its popular Chrysler Pacifica minivan in North America. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Teams Up With Autonomous Vehicle Start-Up Aurora

Move could fill a gaping hole left open after collapse of merger talks with Renault.

by on Jun.10, 2019

Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley hasn't stopped looking for partners the wake of the FCA-Renault falling apart.

Fiat Chrysler will form an alliance with autonomous vehicle start-up Aurora to develop technology for commercial vehicles that could range from hands-free taxis to driverless delivery trucks.

Aurora currently runs operations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as San Francisco and Palo Alto, California, three of the hotbeds of autonomous vehicle research, with more than 200 employees. Earlier this year it raised $530 million through a Series B funding round, with Amazon one of its key investors.

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“As part of FCA’s autonomous vehicle strategy, we will continue to work with strategic partners to address the needs of customers in a rapidly changing industry,” said Mike Manley, chief executive officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. “Aurora brings a unique skillset combined with advanced and purposeful technology that complements and enhances our approach to self-driving.”

The deal, which officially links Aurora with Fiat Chrysler’s North American unit, FCA US, was announced only days after the parent company broke off merger talks with Renault. One of the potential benefits of that tie-up would have been access to autonomous and electrified vehicle technologies being developed by the French automaker’s Japanese alliance partner, Nissan.

(French government blamed for collapse of Fiat Chrysler-Renault merger plan. Click Here for the story.)

Fiat Chrysler also supplied Waymo with 65,000 Pacifica minivans for its Waymo One service.

FCA insiders have blamed French government interference for scuttling the proposed “merger-of-equals,” but sources in France have, in turn, claimed that they were concerned that the deal could have fractured the two decade old Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

What is clear is that Fiat Chrysler has needed help when it comes to autonomous technology. Under Sergio Marchionne, the former CEO who passed away unexpectedly last summer, it was little more than an afterthought. There was little work done in-house, in sharp contrast to other major competitors such as Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen, General Motors and Ford.

Prior to this announcement, FCA’s biggest move in the autonomous field was to agree to provide as many as 60,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans for use in the new Waymo One ride-sharing service started by the Google spinoff Waymo in the Phoenix area – which is scheduled to expand to at least 20 more cities in the coming years.

In an ironic twist, Aurora’s CEO Chris Urmson, a pioneer in the autonomous field, previously headed Waymo before it was spun off by Google and new CEO John Krafcik came onboard.

In the non-monogamous world of high-tech transportation, the connecting lines crisscross all over one another. Amazon, which is now paired with FCA though Aurora, led a consortium that purchased a major stake in electric vehicle start-up Rivian earlier this year. While the digital retailer hasn’t explained its goals, it is widely believed to be working up plans to field a fleet of driverless delivery trucks.

Meanwhile, another investor in Rivian is Ford Motor Co., a key rival of Fiat Chrysler’s in the commercial vehicle market.

(Click Here for more about the failed FCA-Renault merger.)

Neither FCA nor Aurora would discuss specific details of their new alliance, including any financial arrangements. Earlier this year, after the Series B funding round was completed, the start-up reportedly had a $2.5 billion valuation, according to the Reuters news service.

Along with the new FCA deal, Aurora has also forged relationships with Hyundai, Volkswagen and Chinese electric vehicle start-up Byton.

“We are thrilled to forge a partnership with FCA US to develop a meaningful business model for delivering the benefits of self-driving commercial vehicles,” said Sterling Anderson, Aurora co-founder and chief product officer.

Precisely what those vehicles will be isn’t clear, but the dozens of automakers and research firms exploring autonomous technology see a number of possible options. The general consensus is that costs will run too high, at least in the early years, for most consumers, putting the focus on commercial ventures. These include autonomous cabs like those Waymo One is fielding, with General Motors and its Cruise Automation subsidiary promising to launch their own operation later this year.

Local delivery services would like to dispense with costly drivers, as well, though the challenge is resolving the “last 100 foot” problem, getting packages from the truck to the door. Some experiments have required customers to go and pick up their packages but that isn’t seen as a popular option. Drones are a possibility, but Ford last month demonstrated a robot that could take packages from truck to drop-off.

(Waymo kicks off autonomous taxi and ride-sharing service. Click Here for the story.)

Long-haul trucks are also a possibility, though not an area in which FCA competes. Its former partner, Daimler AG, however, has been fleet testing hands-free technology through several subsidiaries, including the U.S.-based Freightliner.

French Government Blamed for Collapse of Fiat Chrysler – Renault Merger Plan

Government’s “cumulative demands and pressures” prove too much; FCA opts out rather than accepting further delays.

by on Jun.06, 2019

FCA CEO Mike Manley had hoped to create the world's third-largest automaker with Renault.

Less than two weeks after proposing a merger-of-equals with Renault that would have formed the world’s third-largest automaker, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles withdrew the offer late Wednesday citing government interference in the proposed deal.

“We went in different directions very rapidly,” said a source close to the ongoing negotiations, noting that only three hours earlier the two carmakers had been preparing to release a joint statement indicating that the Renault board had voted in favor of the proposal and would begin taking the necessary steps to complete a merger – a process expected to take 12 to 18 months.

Going into the negotiations, it was clear there would be some potential obstacles, notably finding a way to preserve Renault’s long-standing relationship with Japanese automakers Nissan and Mitsubishi. But, in the end, FCA formally pointed blame for the collapse of the deal at the French government that is Renault’s largest shareholder.

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“It has become clear that the political conditions in France do not currently exist for such a combination to proceed successfully,” FCA said in a statement.

(more…)

FCA Scuttles Deal With Renault, Blames French Government

Automaker rescinds offer "with immediate effect."

by on Jun.05, 2019

Fiat Chrysler rescinded its merger offer to Renault after the French government's demands became too much.

The deal is off.

Fiat Chrysler’s board of directors held a meeting this evening to put the final touches on a deal with Renault, including a press release announcing the two sides had reached an agreement for a merger that would create the third-largest automaker in the world.

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However, in a span of about three hours, the deal unraveled under demands from the French government, sources close to the deal told TheDetroitBureau.com.  (more…)

Renault Board Puts Brakes on Merger Talks with Fiat Chrysler

French government applying pressure for board to meet demands.

by on Jun.05, 2019

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the government wants certain assurances met before it will sign off on any Renault-FCA merger.

After initially appearing to be excited by the prospect of a merger with Fiat Chrysler, Renault is now slow-playing its hand as its board delays a decision about merger talks.

Renault’s board said Tuesday after meeting at its headquarters near Paris that it will meet again Wednesday to “continue to study with interest” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ merger offer, the Associated Press reported.

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The delay may come from concerns about the deal from the French government – Renault’s largest shareholder – as well as several unions. (more…)

Renault Expected to Give Thumbs Up to FCA Marriage Proposal

Nissan upbeat, but cautious, according to report.

by on Jun.04, 2019

Any merger between FCA and Renault must protect France's hourly workforce, such as its Maubeuge plant, French government officials said.

Renault’s board will meet on Tuesday afternoon to pore over the merger proposal offered late last month by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and reports from Europe suggest the response will be a positive one.

Should the French automaker signal its approval it would surprise few, several observers told TheDetroitBureau.com, considering the two companies had discussed the idea of a full merger for more than a month before the plan became public.

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But there are some potential obstacles to be overcome, including the existing ties between Renault and its long-time alliance partner Nissan, as well as Mitsubishi which entered the alliance several years ago. But the two Japanese automakers also appear to be signaling cautious approval for the deal that would create the world’s third-largest automaker – and largest automotive group. (more…)

U.S. New Vehicle Sales Tick Upward in May

Toyota and Fiat Chrysler led monthly sales surge.

by on Jun.03, 2019

Reid Bigland, FCA head of U.S. Sales, reported that the company's Ram division set a new sales record in May.

With Fiat Chrysler and Toyota leading the way, automakers surprised on the upside in May, posting modest sales increases for the month.

FCA, where overall sales increased 2%, reported setting three records in May, led by the Ram brand which notched its 12th consecutive monthly sales record as demand for both light-duty and heavy-duty pickup trucks remained strong.

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It was also the best May ever for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the highest level of May sales for the Dodge Charger in six years. Overall, total sales rose to 218,702 vehicles. Fleet represented 31% of total sales during the month. On a year-to-date basis, fleet accounted for 22% FCA of sales, the automaker reported. (more…)

Auto Stocks Taking a Beating as Industry Prepares for Mexican Tariffs

Domestic, import automakers alike hammered by Trump plan.

by on Jun.03, 2019

GM imports more vehicles from Mexico than any other automakers, including the Chevy Silverado.

It’s a bear market, at least when it comes to automotive stocks, with Pres. Donald Trump’s planned tariffs on Mexican imports set to go into effect a week from today.

Last Friday, the president tweeted that he was prepared to enact a new 5% tariff on Mexican goods in an effort to pressure that country to stem illegal immigration across the southern border. Barring any resolution, Trump said that would continue to climb to 25% by October 1.

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Nearly a dozen manufacturers would quickly be forced to either raise prices on vehicles imported from Mexico and risk weakening sales, or absorb the tariffs and take a hit to their bottom lines. But even vehicles produced in the U.S. would face tariffs on imported parts and components, such as engines, wiring harnesses and body and interior trim, according to industry analysts.

(more…)

Renault Reveals Fiat Chrysler Offer to Nissan

Japanese automaker to look over proposal.

by on May.29, 2019

Renault Chairman Jean Dominique Senard revealed the details of the merger offer from Fiat Chrysler to Nissan officials during a board meeting in Tokyo.

The move to merge Fiat Chrysler and Renault, creating the world’s third-largest automaker just got a little more complicated today: Renault revealed the offer to its current partner, Nissan Motors.

Nissan got its first briefing on the potential blockbuster deal when Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard was in Tokyo for a board meeting of the three-way alliance among Renault, Nissan and smaller Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

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“There was an open and transparent discussion on FCA’s recent proposal to Groupe Renault. The meeting also discussed and positively concluded several current operational alliance matters,” the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance said in a statement. (more…)

Putting the Jigsaw Together: Who’ll Run the Show at Merged FCA-Renault?

New management team always a challenge when companies combine.

by on May.29, 2019

Fiat Chairman John Elkann's role in a merged company is part of what the two sides are trying to sort out.

During the coming months, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe Renault will be putting an emphasis on due diligence, studying the potential pros and cons of the merger FCA formally proposed on Monday. Among other things, they’ll be looking at how their global operations would come together, everything from product lines to manufacturing operations.

But one of the biggest challenges, numerous sources both in and outside of the two companies stress, will be making sure that their corporate cultures are a comfortable fit. And that will begin at the top, with the management team of what would become the world’s third-largest automaker.

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With the proposed deal expected to take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to finalize, many things could happen, including the choices for key management positions. But, at the moment, sources closely connected to FCA and Renault expect that Jean-Dominique Senard, currently the French automaker’s chairman, will become the new auto giant’s CEO. John Elkann, now FCA’s chairman, will retain that role in the new organization. (more…)


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