Peugeot S.A.and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will soon be known collectively as Stellantis.
In a statement issued today, the name is in all capitals. But most news outlets will only capitalize the first letter, since it is not an acronym.
The process of developing the new name began soon after the combination agreement was announced, with senior management of both companies closely involved throughout, supported by Publicis Group, according to the automakers.
“Stellantis is rooted in the Latin verb ‘stello’ meaning ‘to brighten with stars,’” according to a press release. “It draws inspiration from this new and ambitious alignment of storied automotive brands and strong company cultures that in coming together are creating one of the new leaders in the next era of mobility while at the same time preserving all the exceptional value and the values of its constituent parts.”
The name’s Latin origins pay tribute to the history of its founding companies, while the evocation of astronomy captures the spirit of optimism, energy and renewal, according to the automakers.
The name already has detractors. MotorTrend pronounced it “weird” and said “it sounds like a medication.”
The Stellantis name will be used exclusively at the group level, as a corporate brand. The next step in the process will be the unveiling of a logo that, with the name, will become the corporate brand identity. The names and logos of the Stellantis Group’s constituent brands will remain unchanged.
The merger should be complete by early 2021, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by both companies’ shareholders and the satisfaction of antitrust and other regulatory requirements.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles designs, engineers, manufactures and sells vehicles in a portfolio of brands: Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Ram and Maserati. It also sells parts and services under the Mopar name and operates in the components and production systems sectors under the Comau and Teksid brands. Groupe PSA has five car brands -- Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall -- and provides mobility services under the Free2Move brand.
Creating a new name makes sense as it provides flexibility in how the company treats the individual brands going forward, says Ed Williams, vice president at Kantar.
“Specifically, the Fiat and the Chrysler in FCA,” Williams tells Marketing Daily. “Those brands have been weak for quite a while and it would not surprise me if they have to eliminate one or both. If they used PSA-FCA, for example, it would limit their ability to sell or get rid of these brands.”
It’s a good idea to create a new name rather than using a long, hyphenated name to keep the original pieces of the previous names intact, says Aaron Hall, group director, naming, at Siegel+Gale. A new name signals a true merger internally and externally and marks the start of a new chapter, he says.
“However, for professional namers in the U.S., the new name Stellantis can feel a bit dated,” Hall tells Marketing Daily. “It’s what we call a Latinate coined name (a neologism made up from a Latin root). This type name isn’t a modern or recent style we see much anymore."
“That being said, a holding company name at this level doesn’t have to sound modern or consumer-friendly. There was a lot of buzz about how bad of a name Mondelez was when it was announced. But after the initial uproar, it faded to the background, as a good holding company name should.”