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The Fiat Chrysler-PSA merger can't solve all their problems

The CEO's of both companies shaking hands.
PSA's Carlos Tavares (left) and FCA's Mike Manley. Photo: Courtesy of FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is merging with France's PSA Group to create the world's fourth-largest automaker, a deal intended to help both companies bear the cost of new technologies like electric and self-driving cars.

The big picture: The merger also gives Peugeot's parent a long-desired entry into the U.S. and will help FCA catch up in fuel-efficient powertrains. "It is better to face the challenges of the future together than on a standalone basis," PSA CEO Carlos Tavares said during an investor call, CNBC reported.

Yes, but: The merged company will have some glaring problems.

  • It will still be overly reliant on the European market, where sales are sluggish and tightening regulations make it more difficult for all players to do business there.
  • And both companies are poorly positioned in China, a combined weakness that's only amplified as the world's largest auto market shifts sharply toward electric vehicles and homegrown brands.

The bottom line: Tavares, who will lead the combined entity, is an industry wizard, but pulling this off will likely be the most difficult challenge of his career.

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