Fiat-PSA will continue tie-up for vans
Fiat and PSA will continue to build the Ducato, shown,and its sister vans in a joint venture in Italy.
TURIN – Fiat and PSA/Peugeot Citroen will continue their cooperation on light commercial vehicles despite PSA's alliance with General Motors Co.
Fiat and PSA build the Citroen Jumper, Fiat Ducato and Peugeot Boxer large vans in a joint venture factory in Val di Sangro, near Chieti in southern Italy, where Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne was born.
Fiat says the plant is Europe's largest producer of vans with an annual capacity of 250,000.
The joint venture has no fixed timespan and there are no plans to change it, a PSA spokesperson told Automotive News Europe. Fiat said: "The cooperation is working well and will continue to do so in the future."
PSA also buys the two smallest vans in its range, the Citroen Nemo and Peugeot Bipper from Fiat's Turkish subsidiary TOFAS. The vans are built alongside a sister model, the Fiat Fiorino.
The contract will end mid-2015 and both automakers declined to speculate on future possible developments.
Light commercial vehicles are crucial to European automakers' financial health as they contribute between 300 million and 400 million euros in annual operating profit a year for companies such as Fiat, Renault and PSA, according to Max Warburton, a Bernstein Research analyst.
"The LCV segment is the most overlooked profit driver of the European auto industry, with margins far above that of all but the highest end premium cars," Warburton said.
On December 20, GM and PSA signed the formal contracts for a purchasing joint venture and three passenger car joint projects, a move that followed a February 29 memorandum of understanding for a strategic alliance between the two automakers to slash costs in Europe.
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