Opel Chief KT Neumann: GM-Opel-PSA Peugeot-Citroën Alliance To ‘Absolutely’ Survive First Product Cycle2
Back in 2012, General Motors partnered with French automaker Peugeot-Citroën (PSA) by purchasing a 7 percent stake in PSA for $355 million in hopes of co-developing vehicles for the European market, realizing greater scale, and saving approximately $2 billion annually within roughly five years to bring GM’s European arm to profitability.
Currently, the duo is known to be currently working on two major vehicle projects. For Opel, that translates to replacements for the subcompact Meriva MPV as well as the midsize Zafira MPV. Both vehicles have been said to to be underpinned by platforms from PSA, and will be styled in the direction of crossovers.
But many have wondered whether the GM-PSA cooperation will survive after the first product cycle primarily due to three reasons:
- GM has the funds, scale, and volume to develop its own platforms for any kind of vehicle
- GM sold its stake in PSA roughly a year and a half after initially purchasing the share
- Opel head Karl Thomas Neumann’s comments that the tie-up was a mistake
So, will the GM-Opel-PSA Peugeot-Citroën cooperation continue after the first wave or products completes development?
“Absolutely”, said Opel President Karl Thomas Neumann in a February interview with Automotive News. “Our intention is to learn how to be successful together and then we can talk about the future.”
KT says that in developing a model, he first looks to GM before collaborating with PSA. However, if resources (which we imagine to be technologies and platforms) are not available within The General, he looks to PSA.
“My first priority, however, is always to find synergies within GM, but if we don’t have them, then finding them with PSA is a better option than not developing a model.”
“In the beginning we wanted to do some of our main cars together with PSA, but that has changed”, says Nuemann, which we imagine is in reference to rumors of the next-gen Opel Insignia being a collaboration with PSA. “We only will do cars with PSA if we don’t have an architecture in the GM group, such as with these crossovers because they are a European thing.”
Currently, the duo is working on bringing to market the products it is developing, while also discussing other opportunities.
“There’s always a number of subjects we discuss which could be done together, so we see potential. But the focus is on delivering now, that will be proof that this partnership works.”
The GM Authority Take
Considering these comments as well as KT Neumann’s earlier comments about the partnership, it sounds like the right move four years ago was to use GM’s in-house platforms for the Meriva and Zafira replacements, rather than jointly developing the models with PSA Peugeot-Citroen, while using the collaboration for other vehicles. Here’s to hoping this will be the case for the subsequent generation of both models.
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Opel and GM would be wise to keep the PSA for open long term. There will always be certain niche European and even Latin American projects that would benefit from partnership.
It’s go so far as to say that GM could partner with PSA in a manner similar to Ford (transmissions) & Honda (Fuel Cells). GM could benefit from a non Chinese partner for moduler platforms or even the air hybrids PSA has explored.
Opel should have used this partnership to REALLY renew the Corsa to ditch the old chassis, instead of doing another lifting two years ago.