These brands could finally get new products.
More than a year after announcing a 50-50 merger, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Groupe have officially become Stellantis. The move will mostly influence how the new company is run behind the scenes, but there will be plenty of direct impacts for the consumer later on. Carlos Tavares, Chief Executive Officer of Stellantis, recently hosted an industry roundtable to answer burning questions on what the merger means for the company here in the United States.
While the CEO didn't directly address questions surrounding Chrysler's uncertain future, he confirmed the company's immediate plans regarding its many marques.
"We want to keep the brands," Tavares said. "Why? Because we believe that they represent a strong asset. We have a lot of work to clarify the brand positioning."
Tavares was specifically asked about plans for the Italian brands, such as Alfa Romeo and Maserati. "It's too soon to talk about it, but we recognize the high value of those two brands. Therefore, our intention is to study their profitable growth. We will find a way to help them progress. We have no intention to do anything else other than supporting them and helping them rebound."
Both Alfa Romeo and Maserati have struggled recently, although the latter at least has some intriguing future plans for electrification. By joining Stellantis, both Italian brands, and possibly the Fiat and Lancia brands too, should benefit from platform sharing across the portfolio.
Any product assumptions based on the merger are purely speculative, but perhaps some of the canceled Alfa Romeo models could be back on the table, like the 8C and GTV, a two-door version of the Giulia Quadrifoglio.
"We think about having the same platform for the two sisters cars and some other systems that aren't visible by the customer," Tavares explained. A 'sister car' is a vehicle that is completely different from the other car in the minds of consumers, such as the DS7 Crossback/Peugeot 3008/Citroen C5 Aircross, but still shares the same platform.
"We share as many components as we can, as long as they are perceived by the consumers as very different cars."
This strategy already helped the PSA Groupe when it relaunched the Opel Corsa with a shared platform based on the Peugeot 208. By employing a similar strategy with the FCA brands, we could see a slew of new products that borrow underpinnings from PSA. Specifically, it may make financial sense to import the new electric Fiat 500 into the US market.
Stellantis currently sells 29 electrified models across its 14 brands, with plans to add ten more by the end of 2021. The company plans to have one electrified version of every global model by 2025, a goal that can only be achieved with the help of PSA's technology.
"With 14 iconic brands, we believe we have a strong foundation to rebound," Tavares said. "Specifically on the brands where, for prioritization reasons in the past, we could not invest as much as we wished. We can create exciting new products with common engineering assets."
As for how these new products will come to the US, we don't foresee any new brands entering the market. Tavares confirmed that Stellantis has made "no specific final decision for Peugeot," though we doubt the French brand will make its way stateside. "It is possibly more important to focus on the profitable growth of the [US brands] rather than bringing a new brand on top of what already exists," he continued. "We will see in the future. Nothing is final on this matter. We will see if there are opportunities or not."