Big five steer clear at top
01.06.11: THE FIAT-FORD merger means there are now only five large car producers worldwide.
This puts Europe firmly in the driving seat, leaving General Motors as the sole independent American manufacturer and Toyota-Nissan still struggling in Asia.
This is the latest in a long line of takeovers and mergers since the 1998 takeover of the Chrysler Corporation by Daimler-Benz. Described at the time as a marriage of equals, the fact that the resulting company, DaimlerChrysler AG, was based in Germany not Detroit and was 57%-owned by Mercedes shareholders left little doubt as to who was really in control.
Such mergers have been fuelled by global over-capacity, which as early as 2002 saw annual car production hit 79m. The so-called super-grouping of VW and BMW two years ago was followed by Toyota's deal with the French government to acquire Renault, Peugeot and Citroën, completed shortly before General Motors brought Volvo into its own Saab subsidiary. DL