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Fiat Chrysler CEO: Peugeot merger talks progressing well

By Edward Taylor
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Michael Manley speaks to Reuters during an interview in his office in Auburn Hills, Michigan

By Edward Taylor

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler's chief executive Michael Manley said on Wednesday that merger talks with Peugeot owner PSA to create the world's No. 4 carmaker are progressing well and he hopes to have a deal within 12-14 months.

Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of an industry meeting, he said he doesn't expect any major obstacles that could delay a final agreement.

"Talks are progressing really well," Manley said about negotiations with the French carmaker ahead of a briefing by the European automotive association (ACEA), of which he is president.

His comments come a month after the two carmakers agreed a binding deal worth about $50 billion to combine forces in response to a slowdown in global demand and mounting costs of making cleaner vehicles amid tighter emissions regulations.

Manley's timeline for completing the deal by early 2021 is in line with a forecast made by the companies in December.

Fiat and Peugeot are now getting into the details of how the merger will work, including choosing which vehicle platforms - the technological underpinnings of a vehicle - will fit which products in a combined company.

Because customers in different locations still prefer vastly different cars, there is room for multiple platforms in a combined group, Manley said.

"That global platform is an elusive beast," he added. "This concept of a massive global platform in my mind is almost a myth but that doesn’t mean to say we’re not going to recruit significant volume."

(Reporting by Edward Taylor and Marine Strauss; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Keith Weir, Kirsten Donovan)