The next step in the proposed US$50 billion ($73.5 billion) merger of Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and the PSA Group could be complete by the end of 2019.
According to internal emails seen by Reuters and Automotive News, the PSA Group and FCA have formed multiple working groups to come up with a legally-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the merger.
The document, which could be signed by Christmas this year, will set the formal merger process into full swing. PSA reportedly believes it will take between 12 and 14 months to complete the merger once the singing ceremony is done.
If this timeline holds up, the new automaker, which will be formally incorporated and headquartered in the Netherlands, will begin life in either late 2020 and 2021.
The combined FCA-PSA would be the fourth largest automaker by volume, and have a significant presence in Europe, Latin America and North America.
It will also be home to a dizzying array of brands, including Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram on the FCA side, and Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall from the PSA Group.
Although a PSA man will be in charge of the new firm, both PSA and FCA will be equally represented on the board of directors, and shareholdings will be split 50/50 between the two.
Internal emails seen by the news services have touted the merger as a "fundamental opportunity for the global development of PSA and FCA", and will create a new automaker to "occupy a position of global leadership in the sustainable mobility sector to meet the needs of all types of customers".
Leaders from both sides have reminded employees "FCA and PSA will remain competitors until the merger process is completed".
The European Union has been vigorously policing anti-competitive corporate behaviour. In April it charged BMW, Daimler and the Volkswagen Group for colluding to prevent the roll out of improved emissions reduction technology.