Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA, is the parent company of Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram. It is an Italian American company. Soon, the Italian American company will be speaking French as it merges with PSA (Peugeot, Citroen Automobile). That merger of FCA and PSA is still several months out. But, a new company name has been decided upon. That name is Stellantis.
According to a Reuters report from early this afternoon, the new proposed name, of the joint company, Stellantis, was agreed upon today. It comes from the Latin root of Stello. It means, to brighten with stars. The merger deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. At that time, the renamed company will emerge.
Individual FCA identities to continue
The individual brands underneath the Stellantis name will continue to operate with their own identities. So, for example, Dodge will still be named Dodge and Ram will still be Ram. However, instead of answering to FCA, the brands will answer to the larger Stellantis.
Stellantis plucked out of nowhere?
The new name for FCA-PSA does not seem to have any tie-in with the past heritage of either side of the merger. So, it is not winning anybody over initially. It comes across almost as if the name was plucked out of nowhere.
In a brief online discussion, a commenter offered, “That sounds like a movie about finding the hidden city of Atlantis in outer space.” That was followed by another commenter who said the new name sounded like, “an overpriced luxury wine”.
The Stellantis, FCA, and Marlon Brando connection
Personally, I was not thinking so much about an outer space theme or a fine drink. Instead, I kept having the image of Marlon Brando screaming, “Stella! Stella!” in the movie scene from A Street Car Named Desire, you know, a movie with a sub-theme of physical abuse. I’m sure that is not the association FCA expects from the public.
FCA will fade, we will adjust
Of course, we bristle now, but that will not always happen. It will not be long after the merger is final that we retire FCA and start using the Stellantis name with regularity. The oddity will fade and it will blend in with every other manufacturer in the daily news.
Other oddities in automotive history
There have been other oddities in American manufacturing. For example, an American manufacturer is named after a famous French race car driver, Chevrolet. There’s also the case of the first Ford engines being Dodge Brothers engines. So, those examples are no stranger than an Italian American company, FCA, becoming part of a larger French company and renaming themselves some kind of cosmic name. I mean, really… come on! Oh man, now I have Little Einsteins going through my head, “We’re going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship…”
In all seriousness, automotive names are a major consideration for any business. FCA and PSA are well aware of that. So, choosing Stellantis would have been done after much thought and testing. So, as odd as it may seem now, the name will be sticking around. It may one day even become as iconic as BMW, Chevrolet, Dodge, Porsche, or Volkswagen. For now, we still have several months to get used to it and must remember that we also once got used to FCA as a name.