PSA/Peugeot-Citroen is finally coming to terms with the need to rely more on suppliers to develop and manufacture critical components. That breaks with the philosophy of former Chairman Jacques Calvet.
Late in his tenure, Calvet the contrarian talked of increasing vertical integration - actually raising the value of parts built by PSA. He wanted to keep as much work as possible in-house, rather than follow the industry trend by moving business outside and selling off parts subsidiaries.
Now PSA plans to outsource more components because of pressure on resources and the growing technical complexity of some parts. PSA has also announced the disposal of two major component operations in recent months.
Though once skeptical of the benefits of modules, now PSA is a believer. The company's purchasing executives say that the latest generations of modules developed and built by suppliers will successfully integrate functions and cut costs.
The company is thinking of outsourcing door modules, cockpits, front-end modules, some stamped parts and some foundry operations. It has already decided to buy seats for the forthcoming Peugeot 307 from Faurecia.
The change in philosophy reflects the maturation of PSA - a company that, before Jean-Martin Folz became chief executive two years ago, mostly did things backwards. It assembled cars with common platforms in different plants and in some cases built cars with different platforms in the same plants.
That has changed. The realization that module suppliers can be effective partners is another important advance in PSA's thinking.