Renault Officials Still Deciding on FCA Merger Proposal

French automaker Renault, is taking some time to consider the merger proposal from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

The deal that could reshape the global auto industry as carmakers race to make electric and autonomous vehicles for the masses still looks likely, but faced new criticism Tuesday from Renault's leading union and questions from its Japanese alliance partner Nissan. The French government is also putting conditions on the deal.

A Renault board meeting Tuesday to study the deal was inconclusive but the company didn't explain why.

The Renault board will meet on Wednesday to "continue to study with interest" last week's merger proposal from FCA, Renault said in a statement.

If Renault's board says "yes" to Fiat Chrysler, that would open the way for a non-binding memorandum of understanding to start exclusive merger negotiations.

The ensuing process  — including consultations with unions, the French government, antitrust authorities and other regulators — would take about a year.

A merger would create the world's third-biggest automaker, worth almost $40-billion and producing some 8.7 million vehicles a year which is more than General Motors makes, and trails only Volkswagen and Toyota.

Fiat has merger experience in the past after sealing an agreement with U.S. officials in 2009 to take over bankrupt Chrysler in exchange for small-car technology and managerial expertise.

The deal secured Fiat's survival, with Chrysler now the carmaker's big cash machine on the strength of Jeeps SUVs and Ram trucks.