BMW says it will stick with hybrid JV after PSA-GM tie-up
MUNICH/PARIS -- BMW said it was sticking to plans for a joint venture to make hybrid cars with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen after the French automaker agreed to a separate alliance with General Motors.
"We are examining together how the (joint) company can continue fulfilling its duties, but we are sticking with the joint venture," a spokesman for BMW said on Thursday.
An article in La Tribune posted on the French paper's Web site on Thursday said that BMW wanted to buy out some or all of PSA's stake in the joint venture, dubbed BPC Electrification, because it did not like the PSA's recent alliance with GM and was worried about the French carmaker's financial stability.
GM and PSA, who are both struggling in Europe, announced their alliance in late February with the goal of saving at least $2 billion annually within five years by combining efforts around purchasing and logistics, and eventually building cars on shared vehicle platforms starting in 2016.
PSA said Thursday it was examining the impact of its alliance with GM on its tie-up with BMW. A PSA spokesman told Reuters: "We are examining the impact of our alliance with GM on the joint venture...It's clear the alliance changes the conditions of our partnership."
BMW also said the conditions of the joint venture had changed since GM became PSA's second-largest shareholder with a 7 percent stake.
Both PSA and BMW said the situation would have no impact on their engine cooperation, however.
In February, BMW and PSA expanded their long-standing engine partnership beyond joint development of small four-cylinder gasoline engines to include hybrid electric components.
Call to oust Varin
The news comes after the same newspaper reported on Wednesday that the Peugeot family wanted to oust PSA CEO Philippe Varin because of a fall in sales and dissatisfaction over the alliance with General Motors.
The article forced the supervisory board to issue a public statement of support for Varin after the report boosted PSA shares by 6.5 percent, making it the top gainer on the CAC-40 index of French blue-chip shares on Wednesday.
The Peugeot family holds 25.2 percent of the company's capital and 37.9 percent of its voting rights through the Societe Fonciere Financiere et de Participation (FFP) holding.
Norbert Reithofer, CEO of BMW, told shareholders at BMW's annual general meeting in May that an alliance between PSA and GM would not affect an engine partnership with the French mass-market carmaker.
Sources: Reuters and Automotive News EuropeContact Automotive News