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GM, PSA outline joint vehicle plans

Family ties: GM’s cash-strapped European division will team up with loss-making PSA Peugeot Citroen to work on a replacement for the Vauxhall/Opel Zafira and other products.

Happy families as GM and PSA plan to share next-gen compact people-movers

Opel logo25 Jan 2013

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

GENERAL Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen will jointly develop people-movers, a compact SUV and a new platform for the next generation of Opel/Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroen light cars under the strategic partnership formed almost a year ago.

The alliance plans to co-develop a C-segment (small) people-mover to replace the Opel/Vauxhall Zafira, the first generation of which was sold as a Holden in Australia between 2001 and 2005 and could make a comeback wearing Opel badges.

PSA’s Peugeot brand will get a new compact SUV as part of the deal, which is likely to replace the Mitsubishi ASX-based 4008, although there was no mention of Citroen getting a replacement for its similar C4 Aircross.

A prime candidate to underpin these vehicles is PSA’s new lightweight modular platform, called EMP2, which was shown at a recent innovation event in Paris and can support a wide range of body styles including wagon, people-mover and SUV.

Development of new B-Segment (light) people-movers will be led by GM but developed on PSA platforms to replace Opel’s Meriva, and could become the next Citroen C3 Picasso while providing Peugeot with a product to sit below its 3008 crossover.

52 center imageLeft: PSA chairman Philippe Varin and GM vice chairman Steve Girsky (right).

Next-generation Opel/Vauxhall and PSA low-emission light cars will be based on a new co-developed platform, which could be a re-working of EMP2.

The recently launched Peugeot 208 rides on a re-engineered version of the 207’s platform and the current Opel/Vauxhall Corsa light car is based on a platform shared with Fiat’s Punto and is overdue for replacement.

GM and PSA also intend to co-develop a new generation of high performance, efficient three-cylinder petrol engines based on PSA’s three-pot engine that is already doing service in the 208 light car.

The strategic alliance between GM’s loss-making European operation and the struggling French conglomerate, announced in February last year, aims to cut costs and boost economies of scale.

In addition to sharing the cost of developing new products, the alliance extends to the creation of a joint purchasing organisation aimed at lowering the cost of sourcing shared components.

At the vehicle development announcement in Brussels overnight, GM vice chairman Steve Girsky and PSA chairman Philippe Varin also outlined their intentions to further expand their alliance to make the most of opportunities in growing markets such as Latin America and Russia.

PSA is no stranger to vehicle sharing, having partnerships with Toyota, Mitsubishi and BMW.

The French group’s collaboration with Toyota to develop and build the Peugeot 107/Citroen C1/Toyota Aygo city cars was extended last year to mid-size vans for the European market.

Mitsubishi has a deal with PSA enabling Peugeot and Citroen to sell rebadged i-MiEV electric cars and the BMW Group has a long-standing four-cylinder engine sharing arrangement with PSA.

Apart from Corsa sharing Fiat Punto underpinnings, GM Europe’s partnerships are largely in the commercial vehicle sector, sharing mid-sized and large vans with Renault-Nissan and its compact Combo van based on Fiat’s Doblo – which is also sold in the US under Chrysler’s commercial brand, Ram.

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