Last week's French drama, in which PSA Group and Renault-Nissan were said in dueling media reports to both be interested in a bid for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, seemed a bit familiar.
That's because 40 years ago, a similar dance played out between the rival French automakers over the same prize: Jeep.
In late 1978, American Motors Chairman Gerry Meyers tried to craft a deal with Peugeot to, in part, build the French cars in Kenosha, Wis., to help struggling AMC.
At the last minute, rival Renault stepped in and asked to submit its own proposal. Peugeot found itself iced out.
In January 1979, AMC and Renault announced a partnership agreement allowing AMC to sell Renault cars in the U.S. and Renault to sell Jeeps in France and Colombia.
The French automaker took a stake in AMC to cement the deal, allowing AMC to invest in coming Jeeps. The money helped fund product development efforts that would result in one of the industry's biggest hits: the Jeep Cherokee XJ.
In 1980, Renault upped its stake in AMC to 46 percent, effectively assuming control.
Soon, cars such as the Renault Alliance and Le Car were common across the U.S. The alliance with Renault produced some hits for Jeep such as the Cherokee and Comanche pickup and a CJ-based pickup, the Scrambler.
But even as Renault Alliances were quickly rolling off the line in Kenosha, AMC's alliance with Renault would soon fade.
In 1987, Renault raised the white flag on its North American ambitions and sold AMC — and Jeep — to Lee Iacocca and Chrysler for less than $2 billion.
The rest, as they say, is history repeating itself.