PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA has undergone a massive transformation in the year since Philippe Varin took over as CEO of Europe's second-largest automaker.
Last week's management shake-up – highlighted by the creation of a board-level post for PSA's new Asia boss – was just the latest in a number of big moves aimed at making the once Europe-focused automaker a more powerful global competitor to better challenges giants such as Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG.
“It's critical that we lift our brand awareness and global image to the same level as our top competitors if we want to play in the same league,” Varin, 57, said in PSA's annual report released last month.
PSA is investing an unprecedented amount of cash and resources in Russia, Latin America (Brazil) and China.
• Russia gets 470 million euros to open a car assembly plant in Kaluga that PSA and Mitsubishi Motors Co. want to produce 125,000 compact cars and SUVs a year by 2012.
• Brazil gets 580 million euros to double its production capacity to 320,000 units by 2012.
• Latin America (which includes Brazil) gets a new boss, Carlos Gomes, who PSA lured away from Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. to help the it catch up with leaders VW, Fiat and Renault SA.
• China will get an estimated hundreds of million of euros if PSA follows through with plans to 1) open a third plant in there with longtime joint venture partner Dongfeng Motor Group Co. and 2) establish a new joint venture with Changan Automotive Group.
• China, Shanghai to be exact, also will be home base for Gregoire Olivier, who last week became PSA's first management board member with responsibility for Asia. Olivier's focus will be China but he also will oversee PSA's operations in Japan and India.