Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann recently stated that the alliance with French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroën was the wrong direction for the company.
“It was a big mistake for Opel to search for scale with PSA and not within GM,” Neumann said, referring to the alliance with Peugeot.
The cooperation began in early 2012, when General Motors purchased a 7 percent stake in PSA Peugeot Citroën for $335 million in hopes of saving approximately $2 billion annually between both partners within about five years. At the time, the move was painted as a measure to bring GM’s European operations to profitability.
Initially, the alliance set out to embark on efficiencies in the form of a joint parts sourcing operation as well as the joint development and production of the following four common vehicle programs:
- A compact-class Multi-Purpose Van for Opel/Vauxhall and a compact-class Crossover Utility Vehicle for the Peugeot brand
- A Multi-Purpose Vehicle program for the small car segment for Opel/Vauxhall and the Citroen brand
- An upgraded low CO2 small car segment platform to feed Opel/Vauxhall’s and PSA’s next generation of cars in Europe and other regions
- A joint program for mid-size cars for Opel/Vauxhall and the Peugeot and Citroen brands
With time, the collaboration began to hit roadblocks, resulting in the the joint vehicle programs being pared back (canceling the the midsize and compact car) — something that we here at GM Authority have recommended all along. The vehicle programs that were initially slated to be developed jointly will now use the platforms from within Opel parent company General Motors.
In addition, in December of 2013, General Motors sold its stake in PSA Peugeot Citroen, while opting to continue the alliance. Today, the two automakers are jointly working on two MPV vehicle programs, including what will become the next-generation Opel-Vauxhall Meriva and Zafira (and any PSA Peugeot Citroën equivalents), as well as a light commercial vehicle project.
The GM Authority Take
As we’ve been saying it all along: GM has, and has always had, enough scale within itself to compete cost-effectively in Europe, and in any other market in the world. Regardless, it’s great that Opel’s chief recognizes that Dan Akerson’s plan to getting in bed with PSA was a mistake. Here’s to hoping that The General learns from this experience to fend off other suitors.