Fiat Chrysler and Renault were deep in talks on Sunday about a global partnership agreement that could ultimately lead to a full-blown merger, according to three people with knowledge of the companies’ talks.
The negotiations remained fluid on Sunday, with a range of outcomes possible. Both sides were hoping to announce an agreement on Monday morning.
At a minimum, the two sides have agreed to share technology, intellectual property, supply chains and plants to develop and manufacture vehicles, these people said.
The cooperation, which might involve buying each other’s shares, would further underscore how auto companies are linking arms to cope with sweeping technological change, including the development of electric cars and autonomous driving technology.
People on both sides stressed that a partnership would not result in job losses, a key issue for the various governments and regulators that might have to approve the transaction. These people said the benefits of the combination would be from savings in combining purchases for supplies and in the development of new vehicles. For example, Renault has a robust electric vehicle plan in place that would be shared with Fiat Chrysler, which is considered to be behind.
A partnership would also help both companies manage a downturn in European car sales, which slipped 2.6 percent in the first four months of the year.
The agreement also raises questions about the future of the Renault partnership with Nissan and Mitsubishi, known as the Renault Nissan Alliance. It is possible that Fiat Chrysler could join this alliance, but any such talks are down the road.
Renault negotiated with Fiat without involving Nissan, according