PSA and FCA merger - what does it mean for car buyers?
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall alliance have announced a merger that could see them become the world’s fourth-largest car maker...
A tentative deal on a tie-up between two car manufacturing groups – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and PSA Peugeot Citroën – was revealed on 31 October. If the merger goes ahead, the new company will be the world's fourth-largest car maker, behind Toyota, the Volkswagen Group and the Renault-Nissan alliance. Both firms say that discussions about the merger will be finalised in the coming weeks.
FCA owns Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Fiat, Jeep and Maserati, and PSA is the parent company of Citroen, DS Automobiles, Peugeot and Vauxhall. The former has a strong position in the North American car market and the latter is a big European player, so bringing them together would create a single company with a more global reach. The new company could potentially produce 8.7million cars a year .
PSA and FCA merger – what are the benefits for UK consumers?
The move aims to counter some of the difficulties faced by car makers in recent years, including the slowdown in new car sales in Europe and the growing unpopularity of diesel models. This is putting them under pressure to make big investments into developing cleaner technology and launching new greener models. The push to introduce self-driving cars is a further strain on car maker budgets.
Combining the two companies will enable them to make more of their research and development programmes and help them to foster innovation so that they can meet the challenge of introducing more mainstream electric models sooner.
Peugeot has just introduced the pure electric e-208 and the Fiat 500e will arrive in spring 2020; we an expect the arrival of more EVs using the technology and platforms from these cars in the near future.
The massive money-saving implications of the deal are also a good thing for car buyers. The firms say they could save £3.2 billion from the merger. This will come from a number of measures including a better allocation of resources that should result in a wider range of affordable electric and hybrid models for consumers to choose from, as well as speeding the development of advanced driver assistance systems that will pave the way for self-driving cars.
PSA and FCA merger – what are the concerns for UK consumers?
The 31 October announcement stated that the merger and subsequent savings will happen without any factories being closed or any jobs being lost. However, employees and unions in France, Italy and the UK have all raised concerns about redundancies.
Vauxhall is the newest acquisition of PSA, which bought the car maker in March 2017. There have been hundreds of redundancies since the takeover and there are growing concerns about the survival of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire, where the Astra family hatchback is built. The closure of Ellesmere Port would be a further blow to the UK’s car manufacturing industry.
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Best electric cars and the ones to avoid
The merger between FCA and PSA could bring an influx of new electric and hybrid cars to market, giving buyers who are thinking of going green even more choice. If you can't wait for that, though, which electric cars should you consider today? Well, below and on the next page, we've done the hard work for you and sorted the best from the rest.
10. Tesla Model X
On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream all-rounder, combining the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car. In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even entry-level versions aren't short on pace, but parts of its interior do feel a little cheap given the price.
9. Renault Zoe
The Zoe’s main strength is that it feels like a conventional, stylish, nippy small car, and just happens to cost pennies to run. The electric motor has enough shove for the Zoe to lead the charge away from traffic lights, and the interior has room for four to sit in reasonable comfort. Even the boot is larger than you’ll find in many regular small cars; it's easily big enough for a family's weekly shopping. The Q90 version managed 132 miles in our Real Range test.
8. Nissan Leaf
This second-generation Leaf is a much better all-rounder than the original model. It’s faster, more sophisticated to drive, bigger inside and, perhaps most importantly of all, capable of longer distances between charges. Just make sure you resist the temptation to go for the e+ version; it may have the biggest range of any Leaf yet, but it's also expensive and hard-riding.
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