That all-American Jeep Gladiator pick-up launched in New Zealand the other day? It and the rest of the Jeep products are to be built by a new company called Stellantis.
Same with models from France’s Peugeot and Citroen and Germany’s Opel/Vauxhall. Their maker will be Stellantis too.
Because Stellantis – from the Latin “stello”, “to brighten with stars” – is the name of the new company formed by the merger of Italian-American conglomorate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and France’s PSA Group. A standalone logo is on its way.
Apart from Fiat and Chrysler nameplates, FCA owns Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, Abarth, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram. The PSA Group owns Peugeot and Citroen and acquired Opel/Vauxhall from Germany’s Opel group last year.
Opel of course supplied New Zealand and Australia with the rebadged Holden Commodore and Astra, before Holden closed its doors here last month.
“The name Stellantis will be used exclusively at the group level, as a corporate brand,” the company said in a statement. “The names and the logos of the Stellantis Group’s constituent brands will remain unchanged.”
Just as well. A Stellantis Cherokee/Wrangler/Gladiator/Compass/Renegade (Jeep) doesn’t exactly work. Nor does a Stellantis C3, C4, C5 (Citroen). Or a Stellantis 208 GT and 308 GT (Peugeot, above). A Stellantis Giulia Quadrifoglio (Alfa Romeo, below) would bring on cold sweats.
Same with a Stellantis Challenger or Charger (Dodge), Stellantis 1500 pick-up (Ram), or Stellantis Quattroporte GTS (Maserati). And a Stellantis Commodore would never have flown, certainly not at Pukekohe or Mt Panorama.
The FCA-PSA merger was announced toward the end of 2019 and is expected to be completed early next year. It will make Stellantis the world’s fourth-largest carmaker and fulfills a longtime dream held by late FCA boss Sergio Marchionne, who sought a partnership with another carmaker to cut costs and capitalise on economies of scale.
Marchionne courted General Motor’s CEO Mary Barra in 2015, only to be rebuffed. All along he wanted to extract Italy’s Agnelli family from the car business.
The Angelli family’s stake, overseen by John Elkann, grandson of company patriarch Gianni Agnelli, amounts to about a third of FCA. Elkann is CEO of Exor, the family’s holding company and investment entity.
With Marchionne, Elkann rescued Fiat and then proceeded to concoct FCA, a bundle of brands. The idea was to improve the value of everything, then spin off the pieces. The strategy failed.
The 50-50 merger is valued at US$50 billion. PSA Group boss Carlos Tavares will take over as CEO of the combined companies. FCA and PSA announced their intention to merge after FCA and Renault abandoned a tie-up amid a scandal around former Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi chairman Carlos Ghosn, who was arrested in Japan in 2018 on allegations of financial malfeasance and later fled to Lebanon.