Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann has dismissed the possibility of a deal with the Fiat-Chrysler group, echoing the sentiment and business direction of General Motors CEO Mary Barra. Neumann did, however, say that he sees the the need to improve sales volume, scale and utilization in the auto industry and at Opel.
“In principle (Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio) Marchionne is right, the auto industry develops the same things ten times over,” Neumann said, referring to an email sent by Marchionne to GM CEO Mary Barra in March suggesting merging or otherwise creating a deep collaboration between the two automakers.
For its part, Opel seems to be content on deriving scale from within General Motors, a luxury that Marchionne doesn’t have in the relatively low-volume Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Ferrari operations. Meanwhile, Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, which was acquired by Fiat after the bankruptcy of Chrysler, has very little international scale outside of North America.
Part of Marchionne’s push for an alliance are stringent emissions regulations in Europe, which require the development of next-generation engines that are smaller and more environmentally friendly. To note, Europe has mandated that fleets have emissions of an average of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. As such, automakers can cut the cost of making these next generation engines by sharing development costs.
Neuman also stated that seeking scale by partnering with Peugeot Citroën was a mistake, and that Opel must find such scale within GM instead.