Automakers are beginning to realize that they’re going to have to team up in order to survive the coming shift from the traditional auto sales model to a mobility market. Daimler (Mercedes-Benz’s parent company) and BMW joining forces to tackle mobility is a perfect example.
Now, reports suggest Peugeot (PSA) and Fiat Chrysler (FCA) might be next.
A Bloomberg report, citing a Wall Street Journal story, suggests the French automaker and Italian/American brands could collaborate on a ‘super platform’ — a chassis design that could underpin future electrified models.
The biggest gain from competitive collaboration is a reduction of development costs. If all carmakers are eventually going to be producing hybrid and all-electric cars, which many have said they will, they might as well split the bill in designing them. That way, brands can spend the money they would otherwise have spent on R&D on figuring out (and funding) their diversified mobility businesses.
Not surprisingly, neither PSA nor FCA officials were prepared to fess up to such a potential collaboration.
“We have continuous discussions with our partners,” PSA Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares told Wall Street Journal when pressed about a potential Fiat joint venture. “There is no specific target — no specific, deep, ongoing negotiation.”
Official talks could be announced by the end of the first quarter, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources close to the matter.
The timing makes sense for a PSA and FCA to expand their collaboration, which already includes light-duty van projects. Peugeot is readying a relaunch in the American market in a few years, which will be a huge financial undertaking.
Meanwhile, FCA has been behind the electrification and self-driving tech curve. Currently, it only offers two electrified models: a plug-in hybrid Pacifica minivan and the all-electric Fiat 500e. Neither vehicle is likely sufficient enough to counter the coming electrification onslaught from the brand’s chief competitors.