FCA and PSA lead
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group significantly outperformed their automaker peers in a period when everyone achieved some growth.
FCA's 64.9 percent improvement coincided with its announcement in early August that it had signed a memorandum of understanding to join BMW Group's autonomous car alliance that includes Intel, Delphi and Continental. The companies are going to work together to develop an autonomous driving platform for global deployment.
This followed a better-than-expected Q2 adjusted operating profit by the world's seventh-largest carmaker, helped by improvements in Europe and Latin America and continued strong performance in North America.
The company's share price has benefitted, too, from market speculation about its future. CEO Sergio Marchionne fueled talk that it may spin off its Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands, along with its components operations, including Magneti Marelli.
Analysts believe that such a spinoff could enable the Agnelli family, which controls Fiat, and other shareholders to unlock value in the way it did through the separation of another luxury brand, Ferrari.
But the biggest impetus of all to the share price came from intense market speculation that Chinese investors may be interested in either acquiring its prized Jeep brand or the whole company. In late August, Wang Fengying, president of Great Wall Motor, told Automotive News Europe sister publication Automotive News that his company wants to buy Jeep and was "connecting with FCA" to begin negotiations.
Although Fiat Chrysler subsequently denied that it had been contacted, investors believe this may only be the beginning of a long courtship that could, conceivably, entice other potential suitors from the Far East.
Another Q3 winner was PSA Group, which increased its shareholder value 15.4 percent. Its strong performance followed the completion of its acquisition of the Opel and Vauxhall brands from General Motors.
Gains by other manufacturers in Q3 were more modest, ranging from Renault's 4.9 percent increase to Daimler's 5.9 percent rise. This was still a big improvement on the preceding quarter, however, when only Renault showed a gain – a modest 1.1 percent – and the rest had lost up to 10 percent in shareholder value.