Shareholders of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Groupe PSA (Peugeot) voted to merge the U.S.-Italian and French carmakers to create the world’s fourth-largest auto company by volume.
Both companies’ shareholders overwhelmingly approved the merger, which analysts say was designed to ensure the survival of the two firms.
Addressing separate meetings, Groupe PSA chief executive officer Carlos Tavares and FCA chairman John Elkann spoke of the “historic” importance of the vote, which combines legacy car companies, each significant to the industrial histories of the United States, France and Italy.
The new company, to be called Stellantis, will produce 14 brands, from FCA's Fiat, Maserati and U.S.-focused Jeep, Dodge and Ram, to PSA's Peugeot, Citroen, Opel and DS. PSA has traditionally focused more on the European market.
Tavares, who will run the new company, told reporters that ”affordability, sustainability and safety,” will be the top three priorities, with an emphasis on clean energy technology.
In terms of sales and number of cars produced, the company will rank behind Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault-Nissan.
The merger has been in the works for about a year, in hopes of creating a company better positioned to compete with the world’s other leading automakers. Analysts say it remains to be seen if the new firm can preserve jobs and its traditional brands in a global market still suffering from the coronavirus pandemic.