It’s been under discussion for a long time, and as the new year arrives, it’s reality: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA have agreed, following a shareholder vote, to merge and form the world’s fourth-largest producers of automobiles behind Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault-Nissan. The new, combined company will be known as Stellantis (it loosely translates to “brighten with stars” in Latin), and is scheduled to begin trading January 19th on the New York Stock Exchange. The logic behind this is easy enough to grasp: The furious rush to embrace new automotive technologies including electric propulsion and autonomous driving has driven any number of big automakers to form technical alliances, despite the fact that they’d heretofore been fierce rivals in the marketplace.
Groupe PSA combines vehicle brands including Peugeot, Citroen, Opel and Vauxhall, Peugeot having had the most recent presence in the United States automotive market, going back to the 1990s. That may change. It’s common knowledge in the industry that Groupe PSA president Carlos Tavares has long eyed North America as a growth target, or at least, the opportunity to at least grab a toehold in the world’s biggest sales reservoir for new automobiles. Peugeot and Citroen produce distinctive, quality cars and have a formidable footprint in global motorsports, even if the majority of Americans have never heard of either marque. If you’ve ever traveled in Europe, you already know that Groupe PSA builds some compelling stuff. If would be cool to see something like the vehicle above, the new-generation Peugeot 208 – available in its home market with gasoline, diesel or electric power – end up as buying choice over here.