PSA Looks To Make European Champion
That much is according to PSA’s CEO Carlos Tavares, who told the Associated Press that the firm is looking to create a “European champion” that could sell vehicles outside the European market, something that the brands were highly limited in doing while under General Motors ownership.
“That’s where things are exciting: If we improve our cost competitiveness in the manufacturing, in purchasing, in engineering … then we can sell more Opels and more Vauxhalls overseas, and it represents more work for the European plants,” Tavares was quoted as saying.
Opel’s History Of Histories
Under GM, vehicles from Opel and U.K.-only sister brand Vauxhall were sold exclusively in Europe, though there were a few exceptions. Early in the decade, Opel ventured into China by importing vehicles into the country, thereby being subjected to China’s high import tariffs. It was phased out in 2014 so as not to interfere with GM’s Buick brand, which is highly successful in the Chinese market and which sells some Opel vehicles as part of its own lineup.
Opel’s stint in Australia was even more short-lived, as GM pulled the brand out of the market in 2013 a mere 11 months after launching. Shortly after, GM introduced some Opel/Vauxhall vehicles under its local Holden marque. Opel was also present for years in Russia but GM decided to cease selling Opel vehicles while also pulling Chevrolet out of mainstream segments in the country in 2015. The only non-European markets where the Opel brand persevered include:
- Africa, specifically Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and South Africa
- Asia/Pacific, specifically Singapore
- South America, specifically Chile
- Middle East, specifically Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and UAE
The brand markets some of its vehicles under its Wir Level Autos slogan in those markets.
It has been reported that in selling Opel-Vauxhall to PSA, General Motors requested that either Opel-Vauxhall vehicles and/or brands not be sold in certain markets, such as Russia, China and North America. Details of the non-compete agreement are unknown, as is whether or not the agreement was ultimately became part of the final deal.
Presently, the PSA Group markets the Peugeot, Citroen and DS Automobiles brands and generates most of its sales from the European market, though it also does business in South America. It also has a presence in the Chinese market and is gearing up to return to India through a joint venture. Prior to its acquisition of Opel, the automaker has outlined a long-term strategy to return to the North American market, which it recently began executing. What impact, if any, its purchase of Opel-Vauxhall will have on those plans is unknown as at the moment.