As automotive chieftains gather in Munich this week for Europe’s first major car show in two years, they’ll do more than just lift the veil on shiny sheet metal. These are occasions where big deals tend to get done.

Consider one of the last times the auto world descended on a European city for such a forum, in March 2019. Just before the action got underway in Geneva, the CEOs of Peugeot maker PSA and Fiat Chrysler met to sow the seeds of what blossomed into a megamerger, vaulting Stellantis NV into the same league as Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG (VW).

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