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Marchionnne says next European car merger may involve French

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Marchionnne says next European car merger may involve French

April 12, 2010 - 11:00 am ET

ROME (Bloomberg) -- Fiat S.p.A. CEO Sergio Marchionne said the next European auto merger may involve a French manufacturer.

“The next merger will probably be French,” Marchionne, who also heads Chrysler Group, told reporters in Rome today, when asked what the next industry consolidation move might be.

“They tried with Mitsubishi and they will try with someone else,” the CEO said, referring to PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, the French carmaker that ended talks last month over a proposed equity swap with Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

PSA also has an engine partnership with BMW AG. The companies said in February that they are looking at other areas where they can cooperate, such as in development, production and parts procurement.

Carmakers have been forging alliances by sharing designs and parts such as engines, and some of the tie-ups have involved stake purchases. A partnership between Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan alliance announced last week includes an exchange of a 3.1 percent stake in Daimler for holdings of the same size in Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co.

Fiat acquired 20 percent of Chrysler in June.

“An alliance involving France and Germany is not that easy, but it's a step in the right direction,” Marchionne said, referring to the Daimler-Renault-Nissan partnership.

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