Fleet News

More manufacturer mergers likely

FORD'S acquisition of Volvo is likely to be the latest in an increasing round of mergers and takeovers involving the world's car manufacturers. Motor industry academic Professor Garel Rhys, director of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff University Business School, has predicted that most of the car makers will either be, or linked to, the dominant global players: Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Daimler-Chrysler and BMW-Rover with the latter needing another firm to join the duo.

The Ford/Volvo deal was first mooted last year and anticipation that Ford was about to buy a car-making rival reached fever pitch at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. There is intense speculation that the spate of deals will continue. Renault and Nissan are increasingly being linked, and newly-merged DaimlerChrysler is reported to be in talks with Nissan and its Nissan Diesel commercial vehicle subsidiary. Renault has also reportedly been in talks with its French rivals Peugeot and Citroen, both part of PSA. Ford has been linked with BMW and Rover and with Honda.

Other mergers/alliances which could occur in the future according to Rhys are Fiat looking to escape from its European confines, and Volkswagen looking to expand from being Europe's number one car manufacturer to a true global player. An inability of both Peugeot and Renault to become true global players clould threaten their independence, and Honda, Mitsubishi and Isuzu all likely to find it difficult to remain independent.

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