Car giant Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has approached Renault suggesting the companies combine in a €32.6 billion deal.
The proposal for a “transformative merger” would see FCA and Renault own 50 per cent of the business, which would have combined sales of 8.7 million vehicles a year — larger than General Motors and third globally behind Volkswagen and Toyota.
The idea is that the mergers would breathe new life into the French carmaker’s alliance with Japan’s Nissan.
The proposed tie-up comes despite the departure over the past year of the dominant executives at the two companies who long advocated consolidation: FCA’s Sergio Marchionne and Renault’s Carlos Ghosn. Mr Marchionne passed away in July, while Mr Ghosn was arrested in Tokyo in November on charges of financial misconduct.
Mr Ghosn has maintained his innocence. The combination also brings together Italy’s Agnelli family, which owns 29 per cent of FCA, and the French government, which owns 15 per cent of Renault, as the dominant shareholders in the merged company.
Both have commanded voting rights beyond their respective shareholdings, but that would fall away through the deal. The top leadership positions were not disclosed in Monday’s proposal.