GENEVA -- Historically, deals like General Motors' sale of Opel/Vauxhall to PSA Group have set off a chain reaction in the industry: an urgent sizing-up of competitive conditions and some rummaging around for potential partners.
So is a new round of consolidation in the works, all thanks to Carlos Tavares, PSA's dynamic and acquisitive CEO?
"Ask other automakers," Tavares told Automotive News Europe. "My plate will be full integrating Opel/Vauxhall."
In fact, his plate is about to get even fuller as PSA prepares to buy Proton Holdings, the Malaysian automaker. Proton "is all but a done deal," Tavares said, "and could offer us a great opportunity to expand in Southeast Asia."
Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, Tavares' Paris rival and former boss at Nissan and lately Renault, blessed PSA's Opel deal.
"I've always been an advocate of consolidation," Ghosn said at the auto show here. "The Renault-Nissan Alliance turned 17 years old and I am currently working hard to integrate our latest arrival, Mitsubishi Motors."
Ghosn says size matters, but that scale alone can be useless if companies do not share parts and technologies on a massive scale -- "something that takes time, believe me."
Ford of Europe COO Steven Armstrong said consolidation will happen, with or without the PSA-Opel deal.
"We've been consolidating [as an industry] since day one and I'm sure there will be future consolidation, be it in the form of alliances, cooperations or somebody acquiring somebody else," he said.
But it's not clear that what happened last week even constitutes "consolidation."
"Whether it is Opel just moving from one parent to another or whether they will fully integrate remains to be seen," Armstrong said.
In terms of sales, the Opel-PSA deal will put Europe's No. 3 group (PSA) together with No. 5 (Opel/Vauxhall) to create a new No. 2 after Volkswagen Group. In 2016, PSA and Opel together would have accounted for 16.3 percent market share, behind VW Group's 24.1 percent and ahead of Renault-Nissan's 10.9 percent.
The deal also adds pressure on already struggling smaller nonluxury players in the region. Volume automakers in Europe are losing share -- and some of their most lucrative sales -- to luxury brands.
BMW sales boss Ian Robertson says mainstream brands have suffered from "the success of premium automakers moving into smaller cars as we did with the Mini range and the BMW 1 and 2 series."