Talks are taking place right now.
This isn't the first time we've heard this rumor but it appears significant progress has been made. According to the Financial Times and Reuters, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Renault are in serious talks on a comprehensive global partnership that, if agreed upon, will offer major benefits for both. The talks are reportedly in an advanced stage as the two sides attempt to forge "extensive ties" in order to better tackle issues that would address some of the main weaknesses for both.
Spokespersons for both automakers declined to comment. FCA CEO Mike Manley, who took over from Sergio Marchionne last July following the latter's unexpected passing, has made no secret his desire for tie-ups.
Marchionne himself was a major proponent of this in order to reduce costs in a rapidly changing industry. He made known his desire for a tie-up between FCA and cross-town rival GM. GM CEO Mary Barra was not interested. Renault, however, is seemingly likely to benefit with a partnership with FCA because it currently has no presence in the US market. A tie-up would also enable both split investments into new technologies such as electric vehicles and autonomy.
Renault has been at the forefront of electric car development while FCA is seriously lacking relevant EV product at the moment. There's something in this for both. And then there's the elephant in the room: the Carlos Ghosn scandal.
The now former CEO of Renault and Nissan has been charged with financial misconduct in Japan. Will this have any effect on an FCA-Renault deal? Time will tell. But to what extent could this partnership unfold? For example, Ford and Volkswagen recently made a technology and platform sharing deal but no equity would be exchanged. For FCA and Renault, however, sources claim "this isn't just another partnership - it'– more than that." In other words, this could involve some equity transfer.
Both automakers have reportedly also held talks with other partners, such as the FCA-PSA discussions but nothing has so far come from this. Meanwhile, the Renault-Nissan partnership is under strain but it's unlikely to end. If FCA makes a deal with Renault, then it's entirely possible it could join the already established Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. We'll bring you updates the moment they come in.