Renault, Fiat will end van collaboration ahead of FCA/PSA merger

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In a deal forged under former Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, the French automaker has been building Fiat’s Talento medium-sized vans at its Sandouville plant in France.

Renault deputy CEO Clotilde Delbos told an analyst call on Friday that the contract would end and that Renault was looking for new partners.

Renault has built the Talento alongside its own Trafic at Sandouville since the partnership was announced in 2016. Renault also builds the Nissan NV300 and the Mitsubishi Express on the same lines. In 2019 Renault built around 15,000 Talentos at the factory.

It was not clear whether the Renault/Fiat contract was coming to its natural end or being terminated early. FCA declined to comment and Renault did not give further details.

Carmakers tend to strike production deals of this type to utilize their specialized factories as much as possible.

PSA is set to complete its merger with FCA by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

One remaining hurdle to the combination is an EU investigation into PSA and FCA light-commercial van sales in Europe. The merged company could have combined market shares of well over 30 percent in some countries, including as much as 45 percent in France and 48 percent in Italy.

The European Commission has said it is focusing on “smaller vans,” without being more specific, but it is likely to be referring to medium vans such as the Talento.

PSA’s proposed remedy has not been made public, but Reuters has reported that the plan is to help Toyota increase its own share in the medium van market. PSA could do this because since 2013 it has built Toyota’s ProAce vans at its factory in Hordain, northern France.

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