GM, PSA discard large car project; agree to develop small engine
General Motors Co. and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen scrapped plans for a joint mid-size car program, narrowing the scope for vehicle sharing within their alliance while adding engine cooperation.
The automakers today said they had signed firm agreements to combine their future small car program as well as co-develop roomier minivans and two sizes of crossovers.
Plans to share future replacements for larger models such as the Citroen C5 and GM's Opel Insignia were shelved after the companies failed to reach a "convincing business case," a PSA spokesman said.
But with binding agreements on three other vehicle programs and new plans to pool a future generation of small gasoline engines, "the alliance is taking form and moving up a gear," the spokesman said.
The shared three-cylinder engines, designed to comply with Euro 7 emissions standards entering force around 2019, will bring big savings for both partners, PSA said, without giving details.
The companies said in their statement that the first jointly developed models will go on sale in 2016.
The joint vehicle projects will be:
A compact crossover for the Peugeot brand and a compact multipurpose vehicle for GM's Opel and Vauxhall marques
A subcompact multipurpose vehicle for both PSA and Opel/Vauxhall
An upgraded low-CO2 subcompact-segment platform that will underpin Opel/Vauxhall's and PSA's next generation of cars in Europe and other regions.
The companies said they will jointly develop a next generation of high-performance, fuel-efficient small gasoline engines derived from PSA's EB global small gasoline engine program. PSA introduced the EB 1.0-liter and 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine range on the Peugeot 208 subcompact earlier this year.
A definitive agreement to create a joint purchasing organization in Europe supported by a purchasing joint venture has been signed, the statement said, subject to antitrust approval.
Besides small cars to replace the current Opel Corsa and Peugeot 208 models, the carmakers will share development of a subcompact minivan, as well as a new vehicle platform in the compact category, PSA said today. The new architecture will spawn an Opel minivan likely to replace its current Zafira and a Peugeot crossover.
Large cars conflict
Sharing larger car production would also have raised politically fraught questions about whether to scrap assembly of the C5 in Rennes, western France, or the Insignia, Opel's flagship model, in Ruesselsheim, Germany.
"The subject was clearly too conflictual between France and Germany," Societe Generale analyst Philippe Barrier said. "The projects announced today are a long way from the mega-global alliance they were aiming for originally," he said. "But there's progress - and the addition of engines shows that Peugeot can be useful to GM."
The decisions carry forward the global alliance the companies agreed to earlier this year as both automakers seek to stop deep losses in the depressed and highly competitive European new-car market.
Since the alliance plan was announced in February, the partners have put aside joint plans to develop a small car for Latin America, a dual-clutch gearbox and now the tentative mid-sized car program. The door remains open to cooperation outside Europe, GM and PSA said on today, pledging further "exploration of product and industrial initiatives in Latin America or other growth markets."
GM and PSA are due to give an update next month on their cooperation plans as well as the $2 billion in estimated annual savings both companies touted when the alliance was first unveiled.
The alliance plan has drawn investor skepticism as the PSA's finances worsen, prompting Europe's second-biggest automaker after Volkswagen to cut thousands of domestic jobs and announce the closure of the Citroen C3 factory in Aulnay, near Paris..
Today's announcement "goes in the right direction and we could see the first signs of the synergies as soon as 2013," said Xavier Caroen, a Paris-based analyst at Kepler Capital Markets. "At first glance, this may seem a little disappointing, but they may have other additional announcements to make early next year. Nothing prevents them from sourcing car components worldwide and gaining access to GM's global order book," he said.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this reportContact Automotive News