The Peugeot family, one of the major shareholders in the PSA Group, is ‘ready’ to support an acquisition or merge with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, pointing to the success of the purchase of Vauxhall-Opel.
PSA Group comprises Citroën, DS, Peugeot and Vauxhall-Opel, and boss Carlos Tavares has already said he is interested in acquiring more brands. The FCA Group, whose brands include Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati and Jeep, has frequently been cited as a potential target.
The Peugeot family is a major shareholder in the PSA Group through its FFP holding company. In an interview with the Les Echos newspaper, FFP chairman Robert Peugeot was asked about a potential merger with FCA, and said: “With them, as with others, the planets could be aligned.”
The PSA Group is also reportedly interested in Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by India's Tata Motors but has struggled recently.
While he said there were no deals currently in place, Peugeot said that the “exceptional success” of PSA’s 2016 purchase of Vauxhall-Opel from GM made the family willing to back a similar move.
“We supported the Opel project from the start,” he added. “If another opportunity comes up, we will not be braking.”
PSA has long had an interest in a deal with FCA, with Tavares ruling out such a move in 2015 to focus on completing the Vauxhall-Opel deal.
The two companies have already collaborated in the development of commercial vehicles, and PSA’s interest in FCA is understood to be in part due to the latter’s strong presence in North America, primarily through Jeep and Ram. PSA is currently preparing to re-launch Peugeot in the USA, and a deal with FCA would give it access to infrastructure for servicing and dealerships.
FCA boss Mike Manley told Italian reporters at the Geneva Motor Show that he was “very open” to increased cooperation with other car firms, “whether it’s partnerships, joint ventures or deeper levels of equity cooperation that makes sense for us and whoever that is”.
Also read: PSA Group confirms launch of Citroen brand in India