A study undertaken by PwC, the financial services group, says that the total value of mergers and acquisitions in the automotive industry fell sharply from $22bn to $9.86bn in the first half of the year from a year earlier, according to a report in the Financial Times.

There are two explanations for the steep decline in total value disclosed. The first is that there were fewer mega deals and the second is that valuation multiples have declined dramatically, as the economic outlook has weakened and stock-market values have slumped.

The focus of quoted companies has shifted from expansion to restructuring of existing businesses.

It is thought likely that a number of on-going or recently signed deals could be liable to renegotiation.

The FT report says that deals that could be jeopardised or renegotiated are thought to include the E450m-E550m ($414m-$506m) offer for the suspension arm of Magneti Marelli, part of Fiat, by ThyssenKrupp of Germany.

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