Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota said they would shut down all factories in the region, citing concerns for employees who work in close quarters building automobiles. Nissan will close U.S. factories. Hyundai shut down its Alabama plant after a worker tested positive for the virus.
The companies said in a joint statement the new group will be led by PSA’s cost-cutting CEO Carlo Tavares, with Fiat Chrysler’s Chairman John Elkann as chairman of the merged company. Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley will stay on, but it was not announced in what capacity. No name for the new company has been decided.
The merger would bring together Italian-American Fiat Chrysler, with its strong footprint in North America where it makes at least two-thirds of its profits, and France’s PSA Peugeot, the No. 2 automaker in Europe. Both lag in China, despite the participation of the Chinese shareholder Dongfeng, in PSA Peugeot, and are catching up in the transition to electrified powertrains.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said the discussions were ongoing “aimed at creating one of the world’s leading mobility groups,” but didn’t specify whether the goal was a full merger or a looser alliance.
Fiat Chrysler is proposing a merger with French carmaker Renault aimed at saving billions of dollars for both companies. The merged company would reshape the global industry: it would produce some 8.7 million vehicles a year, leapfrogging General Motors and trailing only Volkswagen and Toyota.
The carmaker said it shipped 1.037 million vehicles in the first quarter, down 14% from a year earlier, due to the decision not to produce the old Jeep Wrangler alongside the new model, only partially offset by increased sales of the Ram. That cause profits in the quarter to fall from 951 euros last year to 508 euros this year.
China’s Great Wall Motor Co. says it is interested in buying the Jeep brand and has reached out to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to see whether a deal can be negotiated. The move would slice Jeep from the rest of FCA’s brands, leaving question marks over the future of Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge and Ram. FCA already said it would consider splitting Alfa Romeo and Maserati into their own company.Ã¢â‚¬â€¹
The automaker says its net profit was $70 million from July through September compared with $611 million a year ago. Fiat Chrysler US posted just over $1 billion in one-time pretax charges, including an $848 million adjustment for recalls and $159 million for vehicles damaged in a Chinese port explosion last August.
Fiat Chrysler increased by €761 million the estimated cost of future recalls in the United States and Canada after revising its actuarial method. The mass-market carmaker, which is spinning off its sports car unit Ferrari, said today the quarterly loss of €306 million ($339 million) compared with a net profit of €174 million for the same period last year.
The Italian-American automaker confirmed it had reached a new tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers union. Local union leaders will vote on the proposed deal Friday at a meeting in Detroit. If the leaders approve the tentative agreement, UAW will release details and the ratification process will begin, a UAW spokesman said.