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GM, PSA seal product-sharing deal
Four new vehicle projects for Opel, Peugeot and Citroen to hit the road from 2016
25 Oct 2012
By TERRY MARTIN
GENERAL Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen have revealed further details of their new global product-sharing alliance forged earlier this year, with the first of four vehicle projects for Opel/Vauxhall and the two French brands to reach the market within four years.
As Ford announced plans overnight to close its plant in Belgium as part of a far-reaching restructuring program in Europe, GM and its rival PSA confirmed their joint-vehicle projects would cover several compact car, small car and light-commercial segment entries, along with an all-new medium-size passenger car range.
Specifically, the terms of the agreement include: a compact multi-purpose van for Opel/Vauxhall and a related crossover/SUV for Peugeot a small multi-purpose vehicle for Opel/Vauxhall and Citroen an upgraded low-CO2 small-car segment platform “to feed Opel/Vauxhall’s and PSA’s next generation of cars in Europe and other regions” and a joint program for mid-size cars for Opel/Vauxhall and both Peugeot and Citroen.
The first vehicles, which will be developed “combining the best platform architectures and technologies from the alliance partners”, are due to be launched by the end of 2016.
Battling the same issues as Ford in Europe, both GM and PSA are continuing to independently assess their production operations and manage excess capacity and record-low demand in Western Europe.
PSA – Europe’s second-largest car-maker – plans to close its Aulnay plant near Paris in 2014, while GM is working to shut its Opel plant in Bochum, Germany, by 2016.
The new alliance feeds directly into this situation, although both auto-makers have not revealed plans for joint manufacturing at this stage.
The latest announcement has also ended speculation – for now at least – that GM was preparing to sell-off Opel to PSA or another major European auto group.
Opel Australia managing director Bill Mott told GoAuto at last week’s Sydney motor show that global company management “have been very clear that Opel is not for sale”.
“We’ve also been open about this wide-ranging and long-term partnership we have established with PSA that we will jointly develop platforms and that we will be going into the purchasing area and logistics,” he said.
“All of these are ongoing, and in fact there have already been some discussions on the logistics end, so all of that is happening, but anything beyond that is pure speculation.” In a statement this week, GM and PSA said they had confirmed that the four product-sharing projects and the joint purchasing organisation combined were expected to achieve $US2 billion in annual savings within five years.
“Other co-operation opportunities” between the two auto-makers will also now be explored.
PSA has several alliances in place with other car companies including Toyota, Mitsubishi and BMW.
It recently broadened its partnership with Toyota beyond its established European city-car program, signing a deal to supply the Japanese auto giant with a version of its Peugeot Expert/Citroen Jumpy mid-size van – the current version of which is the product of a joint venture between PSA and Fiat.
Mitsubishi supplies rebadged Peugeot and Citroen versions of its Outlander compact SUV and i-MiEV electric car for PSA to sell in Europe and beyond, although slow sales have seen production of the i-MiEV-based cars wound back.
PSA also forged a deal with the BMW Group last year to jointly develop hybrid technology that should make it into production vehicles from 2014.
Opel’s current light-commercial vehicles are all the product of joint ventures, with the compact Combo based on the Fiat Doblo, the mid-size Vivaro based on the Renault Trafic/Nissan Primastar, and the larger Movano based on the Renault Master/Nissan NV400.
The Corsa light car is also based on Fiat’s Punto.
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