Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Monday submitted a shock proposal to French automaker Renault for a 50/50 merger.
Both automakers would have equal representation on the board of directors of the merged entity and half the shares would be split among FCA's current shareholders and the other half among the shareholders of Renault. The shares would be listed on stock exhanges in Paris, Milan and New York City.
In a statement, Renault said it is examining the proposal and will provide an update later.
Though naturally there will be plenty to digest given the scale of the automakers, the benefits are obvious as the two will be able to share costs on developing electrified cars and self-driving technologies. Renault also will be given exposure to the U.S., which it currently lacks, while the same would be true for FCA in Europe, whose Euro-centric brands like Fiat and Alfa Romeo have failed to take-off on the continent.
2019 Renault Mégane RS Trophy
FCA in a statement said a merger won't close any plants. The automaker also sees the potential of approximately $5.6 billion in cost savings, in addition to those existing savings realized by Renault through its alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi.
Any deal with FCA would largely finish what the automaker's former CEO, Sergio Marchionne, started in 2014 when he openly explored the idea of a merger with General Motors to help share the load on capital expenditure. Since then, rumors about an FCA merger with Renault compatriot PSA Group, as well as Volkswagen Group, Hyundai, and Chinese automaker Great Wall have also come and gone.
Should any merger between FCA and Renault take place, we'd be looking at an automaker with 8.7 million annual sales, which is behind only Toyota and VW Group which both have around 10 million sales. Of course, there's also the potential for further integration with Renault's current alliance partners, Nissan and Mitsubishi, to create a real behemoth in the industry. Renault is still keen on a merger with Nissan despite the relationship between the two becoming strained following the arrest of the former chairman of both, Carlos Ghosn, late last year on financial misconduct charges. A merger with FCA may provide Renault with more weight in pushing ahead with a merger with Nissan. Renault currently owns 43.4 percent of Nissan, while Nissan owns just 15 percent of Renault.
The proposed deal wouldn't be the first time Renault has partnered with an automaker in the U.S. There was the deal back in the 1970s between Renault and AMC, which controlled Jeep at the time. The deal saw AMC selling some Renault products in the U.S., but due to pressure back in France it came to an end in the late '80s when Renault ended up selling its stake in AMC to Chrysler.