Renault Wants To Merge With Nissan, Then Go After Fiat Chrysler

Renault wants to merge with Nissan, then go after Fiat Chrysler

The late Sergio Marchionne used to say consolidation would be the only way to compete against the biggest global carmakers. The company looks certain to fulfill that goal, but perhaps not in the way he intended. The Financial Times reports that Renault wants to begin merger talks with Nissan in the next 12 months. Assuming a merger gets completed, the plan is for the combined company to then pursue another merger, with Fiat Chrysler a prime target.

Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi have been busy since cutting ties with ex-alliance boss Carlos Ghosn. They formed a new alliance board with Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard at the helm, Renault has shrunk the size of its board while Nissan added more outside directors, and the two agreed to a new governance structure to ease operational decision making. All three automakers have walked away from Ghosn-era goals to sell 14 million cars and find 10 billion euros in savings by 2022. New strategic plans for all three car companies are in the works.

2019 Toyota Sienna Awd Vs 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid | New Meets Old

2019 Toyota Sienna AWD vs 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid | New meets old

The Toyota Sienna has always been an inconspicuous van. They're out there, there's a lot of them and they're huge, but they blend in with darn near everything. Perhaps Toyota noticed that a little while ago and slapped on the slightly garish grille/not a grille plastic thing in the front bumper, but it still doesn't really stand out. On the other hand, our long-term Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, which is a great deal newer than the Sienna, has slick styling that gets noticed. Toyota hasn't properly redesigned the Sienna since the 2011 model year, and it shows on every front. Despite its many shortcomings, there are still some valid arguments for going with the dinosaur.

Ride and handling

Of all the reasons to choose a Sienna over the much newer competition, available all-wheel drive has to be the main one. My tester was so equipped, and I got a chance to test it out in both snow and ice. Obviously, the first thing I did in powder was see if the rear end would break loose. I can confirm that with traction control off, the Sienna will slide around a little bit. You won't be doing any sick drifts, but it's undoubtedly more fun than our Pacifica.

The Chrysler is fitted with Nokian Hakkapelitta winter tires. As you might guess, this means that braking and grip around corners is better than the Sienna in snow. If the Sienna were to ditch its slippery all-seasons for a proper set of winters, it would be running circles around the Pacifica. Still, I drove our Pacifica through a lake effect blizzard in Buffalo and it never blinked from lack of traction with multiple inches of snow on the ground. Some folks are going to want the assurance of all-wheel drive, and the Sienna will offer it, but don't make it your only option. All-wheel drive might help you get going, but winter tires are there to save the day when sledding gets tough.