Talk has begun to surface about a possible merger between two major automakers, with one of television’s bread-and-butter ad categories, automotive, likely to suffer collateral damage from the deal if it came to fruition.
“Volkswagen Group has opened a tiny crack in the door to a possible merger with rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which, if it ever happened, would set off a potentially seismic shakeup in the global automotive industry,” USA Today reports.
The rumblings picked up steam when Reuters reported today that Volkswagen Chief Executive Matthias Mueller appears to be more open to merger talks than he was previously. Following VW’s annual results news conference, Mueller told journalists today, “I am not ruling out a conversation” with Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne about a possible merger, Reuters reports.
“Only last week, Mueller appeared to dismiss the prospect of talks with Fiat Chrysler (FCA), saying VW had enough on its plate as it struggled to overcome its emissions scandal and push a wide-ranging business transformation,” Reuters adds.
USA Today notes that Mueller’s comments “signal a possible speedup in consolidation for an industry that’s on the verge of massive upheaval via self-driving vehicles and ride-hailing applications.”
The USA Today report also notes that merger fever became more urgent in the auto industry “after GM reached a deal to sell its European division to French automaker PSA Group, which controls the Peugeot brand, potentially translating into stiffer competition for VW in its home market.”