PSA CEO Carlos Tavares, set to take the operational helm in the PSA/FCA merger, said on Friday in a TV interview that the companies complemented each other well geographically and in terms of technology and brands. In his first interview since the French and Italian companies announced plans to create the world’s fourth-largest automaker on Oct. 31, Tavares told France’s BFM Business that; “As of today, I don’t see any need to scrap any of the brands if the deal came to pass. They all have their history and their strengths.”
“As of today” may be the most telling part of that remark. If the merger closes, the following brands would all come under the combined group’s umbrella:
- Alfa Romeo
That’s 15 brands! Few carmakers have as large a portfolio, with German rival Volkswagen counting 11 passenger brands, if newer Chinese ones such as electric vehicle label Sihao are included.
As for Tavares’s reference to brand history and strength, as impressive a turnout there was for the 100 anniversary of Citroën celebrations this year, and the recognition of the iconic vehicles, the design, engineering and rich automotive history behind them, those die-hard fans are a minuscule fraction of the population. The new generation of mobility users that PSA/FCA needs to target do not, for the most part, relate to past the accomplishments of Citroën. Strength for PSA/FCA will come from innovating against its current competitors, not burdening itself trying to foster brand legacies.
In the long run, the balance sheet showing the costs involved keeping all 15 brands in production will no doubt result in a critical review of at least a few of them within the PSA/FCA group, including Citroën and DS.
PSA and FCA have said they aim to reach a binding outline in the coming weeks, but still face questions over potential job losses, as well as scrutiny over whether the transaction favours one party more than the other.
“Given all the necessary regulatory approvals that need to be granted, such a deal cannot be closed in less than a year,” Tavares added.
So that should mean that Citroën will be around for at least two years, the earliest point in which a year of financials for PSA and FCA’s combined operations could be analyzed.