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          菲亞特、標志有望合并,能否成功取決于四個因素

          這兩家汽車制造商可以借此分享轎車、SUV和商用車型設計,彌補各自的弱點,并共享成本,從而讓新公司成為一家更強大的國際汽車制造商。

          位于日本東京的一家經銷商展示的菲亞特克萊斯勒NV (FCA) Fiat 500。圖片來源:Toru Hanai/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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          通過這個看似向著獲批邁進的合并交易,菲亞特克萊斯勒(FCA)將獲得電動汽車技術,而標致雪鐵龍集團(PSA)將受益于其急需的經銷商網絡,來實現其進駐美國市場的目標。

          《華爾街日報》在10月30日的報道中引用一位匿名線人的話稱,PSA董事會已經批準了此次交易。這次合并的聯合市值約為500億美元,將誕生全球第四大汽車制造商。兩家公司均未對此置評。

          專家們說,這兩家汽車制造商可以借此分享轎車、SUV和商用車型設計,彌補各自的弱點,并共享成本,從而讓新公司成為一家更強大的國際汽車制造商。

          晨星公司的分析師理查德·西爾基特在致投資者的信件中寫道:“有鑒于當前的全球競爭環境、較高的資本密集度以及電動動力系統和自動駕駛技術對行業的顛覆性影響,我們認為這兩家公司的合并是合理的。”

          菲亞特克萊斯特在10月30日確認說,公司今年與法國競爭對手標致雪鐵龍集團再度進行了嘗試性接觸,為的是在這個汽車業務充滿不確定性因素的時代重塑全球汽車產業。在雙方接觸之前,菲亞特克萊斯勒與法國雷諾的合并以失敗告終。菲亞特克萊斯勒多年來一直在尋求合作伙伴,以共同承擔開發未來技術所需的大量資金成本。

          但一位不愿透露姓名的知情人士稱,此次交易何時開展尚無定論,但標致董事會在10月30日召開了會議。

          以下四個因素對于兩家汽車制造商的成功合并至關重要:

          技術

          多年來,菲亞特克萊斯勒缺乏這位對手的電動汽車技術,其前任首席執行官曾經試圖勸阻人們購買其在美國發布的唯一一款純電動汽車Fiat 500E,因為每售一輛都會虧錢。Navigant Research的分析師山姆·阿布爾薩米德說,公司已經在氣電混動汽車領域取得了一些進步,而且可能有計劃開發更多的純電動汽車,但標致雪鐵龍集團擁有可供菲亞特克萊斯勒使用的寶貴技術。

          相對來講,標致在這場電動汽車競賽中已經落入下風,但如今正在迅速迎頭趕上,尤其是拉近與其法國本土競爭對手雷諾的距離。首席執行官卡洛斯·塔瓦爾斯曾經在諸多車展上和電話會議上強調,公司有必要根據不斷變化的技術進行調整。去年,他宣布在2025年前,在后續產品中推出40款電動車型。

          阿布爾薩米德說:“到目前為止,電動化占兩家業務的比例還不是很大。對于這兩家汽車制造商來說,我認為無論它們做什么,其規模都小不到哪去,而且它們還能共同承擔橫跨電動平臺的組件成本、開發成本。”

          電動汽車的增加還將有助于菲亞特克萊斯勒滿足歐洲污染和燃油經濟標準的要求。

          阿布爾薩米德說,就自動駕駛汽車而言,這兩家公司都沒有優勢。但這項技術的成熟還需要很多年的時間,也為它們承擔巨額成本、迎頭趕上留出了時間。阿布爾薩米德說,菲亞特克萊斯勒還與其他公司建立了聯盟,例如從谷歌剝離的公司Waymo。只要技術成熟,這家公司隨時都可能在市場上推出自動駕駛技術。

          美國

          塔瓦爾斯去年到訪底特律時說,標致雪鐵龍集團將在10年內進軍美國市場。

          他說:“如果你希望成為一家國際性公司,美國是必須進駐的市場。”

          公司自此一直在開發叫車服務,并與經銷商對話,但收效甚微。與菲亞特克萊斯勒的合并可以大大加速這個目標的實現。

          菲亞特克萊斯勒在美國有2640家經銷商,將為標致和標致雪鐵龍集團其他車型提供現成的經銷網絡。標致雪鐵龍集團甚至可能依然通過啟用未充分利用的菲亞特和雷諾經銷商,來保持與菲亞特克萊斯勒品牌之間的獨立性。

          標致雪鐵龍集團專業生產中小車型,但這類車型在喜歡SUV和卡車的美國已經失去了市場,甚至一些國際買家也對其失去了興趣。阿布爾薩米德稱,標致雪鐵龍集團可以以菲亞特克萊斯勒熱銷的吉普SUV和Ram系列皮卡為藍本,打造自有車型。

          歐洲

          菲亞特克萊斯勒和標致雪鐵龍集團在完成并購方面不會遇到什么麻煩,因為意大利和法國之間在打造商用車方面有著數十年的合作。然而,歐洲還面臨著一個更大的問題。菲亞特、標致、雪鐵龍和歐寶陣營之間的小型車型和轎車車型之間會出現很大的重疊。

          隨著歐洲車輛的滯銷,公司不得不關閉工廠來應對產能過剩。為了捍衛工作崗位,法國和意大利將開展斗爭。意大利工廠已經在低負荷運轉,盡管它們計劃改換這些工廠的用途,以生產利潤更高的頂級品牌阿爾法羅密歐和瑪莎拉蒂。

          分析師表示,被標致雪鐵龍集團于2017年從通用汽車手中購買的歐寶,可能會面臨最嚴重的裁員,它如今是一家法國企業的子公司,只不過大多數工廠位于德國。此次合并有望幫助菲亞特克萊斯勒拉近與嚴格的排放標準的距離。分析師預計,標致雪鐵龍集團的電動和混合動力系統將有助于加速這一轉型。但意大利的工會稱,在這場必然十分痛苦的電動化轉型過程中,政治干預不可或缺。

          亞洲

          在全球最大的汽車市場中國,此次合并預計對于這兩家汽車制造商基本上沒有什么幫助。

          盡管中國汽車制造商東風在2014年對標致進行了投資,但公司并沒有開展實質性的舉措來拓展標致在中國市場的銷售業績。從這一點來看,這兩家公司在中國市場上的關系并沒有像想象的那樣緊密。

          標致雪鐵龍集團去年稱,其在中國的銷售額下滑了34%,而汽車市場本身的降幅僅有2%,同時它與東風的合資企業也報出了2.34億歐元的虧損。

          菲亞特克萊斯勒與中國公司廣汽集團創建了一家合資企業,推出了四款吉普車型。菲亞特克萊斯勒2018年的銷量為16.3萬臺,下滑了24%。公司稱原因在于SUV領域的競爭變得愈發激烈。菲亞特去年在中國的市場份額僅有0.8%。

          盡管中國的汽車銷量今年再次出現下滑,但業界預期該市場在未來數年將保持增長態勢。(財富中文網)

          譯者:馮豐

          審校:夏林

          In a merger deal that appears to be heading for approval, Fiat Chrysler stands to gain electric vehicle technology while PSA Peugeot Citroen could benefit from a badly needed dealership network to reach its goal of selling vehicles in the U.S.

          The Wall Street Journal, citing sources it did not identify, reported on October 30 that the PSA board has approved the deal, which would create the world’s fourth-largest automaker with a combined market value of around $50 billion. Neither company would comment.

          Experts say the two automakers would be able to share car, SUV and commercial vehicle designs, helping each other fill weaknesses and share costs that will make them a strong global player.

          “We view the combination of these two companies as reasonable given global competition, high capital intensity, and industry disruption from electrified powertrain as well as autonomous technologies,” Morningstar analyst Richard Hilgert wrote in a note to investors.

          Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed on October 30 that it’s in talks with French rival PSA in its second try this year to reshape the global auto industry at a time of heightened uncertainty for the business. The talks started after a merger with France’s Renault collapsed earlier this year. FCA for years has been looking for a partner to share huge capital costs to develop future technologies.

          The timing of any deal is unclear, but the Peugeot board was meeting on October 30, said a person close to the discussions on condition of anonymity.

          Here are four areas that could be crucial to the two automakers’ success:

          Technology

          For years, Fiat Chrysler has lagged its rivals in electric vehicle technology, with its former CEO once trying to discourage people from buying its only fully electric car in the United States, the Fiat 500E, because he lost money on each sale. The company has made progress on gas-electric hybrids and may have plans for more fully electric vehicles, but PSA has valuable technology that FCA can use, said Navigant Research analyst Sam Abuelsamid.

          Peugeot was relatively late to the electric vehicle game but is now working fast to catch up, notably with fellow French rival Renault. CEO Carlos Tavares has made a point of stressing the company’s need to adapt to changing technology at car shows and earnings calls. Last year he announced plans to offer 40 electric models across its lineup by 2025.

          “Electrification hasn’t been a huge part of their play up until now,” Abuelsamid said. “Between the two of them, I think they could generate some scale for whatever they’re doing, sharing component costs, development costs across electrical platforms,” he said.

          More electric vehicles also would help FCA meet pollution and fuel economy regulations in Europe.

          United States

          At an appearance in Detroit last year, Tavares said PSA would be selling vehicles in the U.S. within the next decade.

          “If you want to be a global player, you have to be there,” he said.

          The company has since been working on ride-hailing services and talking to dealerships, but little progress has been revealed. A deal with FCA could accelerate that goal greatly.

          With 2,640 dealers across the U.S., Fiat Chrysler would be a ready distribution network for Peugeot and other PSA vehicles. PSA even could remain separate from Fiat Chrysler brands by selling in underutilized Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealerships.

          PSA specializes in small and medium-sized cars, which have fallen out of favor with U.S. and even some international buyers who prefer SUVs and trucks. PSA could build its own vehicles off the underpinnings of FCA’s hot selling Jeep SUVs and Ram trucks, Abuelsamid said.

          Europe

          Fiat Chrysler and PSA are likely to have an easier time completing a merger due to decades of cooperation in both Italy and France on building commercial vehicles. But Europe will also pose one of the bigger problems. There is a large overlap in the types of smaller cars and sedans built under the Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen and Opel marquees.

          That raises the specter of factory closures to deal with overproduction as European car sales lag. France and Italy will fight to protect jobs; Italian plants are already working under capacity despite plans to repurpose them for higher-margin premium brands Alfa Romeo and Maserati.

          Analysts say that Opel, purchased by PSA from General Motors in 2017, could face the most drastic cuts, as it is now part of a French company even though most of its plants are in Germany. The merger is expected to help Fiat Chrysler get closer to meeting strict emissions standards with analysts expecting PSA’s electric and hybrid powertrains to help speed the transition. But Italian unions say that there needs to also be political involvement in the admittedly painful transition to electrified powertrains.

          Asia

          The merger is expected to do very little to help the two carmakers in the world’s largest market: China.

          Despite a 2014 investment in Peugeot by the Chinese carmaker Dongfeng, there has been no real push to expand the French carmaker’s sales in the Chinese market. This seems to indicate that the two carmakers are not as intertwined in China as expected.

          PSA Peugeot last year reported its sales in China down 34% in a market that slipped just 2%, with the Dongfeng joint venture posting losses last year of 234 million euros.

          Fiat Chrysler, which produces four Jeep models in a joint venture with the Chinese company GAC, saw sales dropped 24% to 163,000 in 2018. It cited higher competition the SUV segment. Fiat had just a 0.8% market share in China last year.

          While China sales are off again this year, they are projected to keep growing in future years.

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