General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen have outlined the latest progress in their global strategic alliance, first announced in February this year. The initial agreement called for collaboration in two main areas: the sharing of vehicle platforms, components and modules on a global basis; and the creation of a global purchasing joint venture for the sourcing of commodities, parts and other goods and services. It has always been emphasised that each company would continue to market and sell its vehicles independently and on a competitive basis. In July, GM announced a logistics agreement with PSA, marking the first definitive result of the strategic alliance. Starting in 2013, the majority of GM’s logistics business in Europe, including Russia, will be transferred to PSA’s subsidiary GEFCO.
The partners have now chosen four vehicle projects on which to focus:
- a joint programme for a compact-class multi-purpose van for Opel/Vauxhall and a compact-class crossover utility vehicle for the Peugeot brand;
- a joint multi-purpose vehicle programme for the small car segment for Opel/Vauxhall and the Citroen brand;
- an upgraded low CO2 small car segment platform for Opel/Vauxhall’s and PSA’s next generation of cars in Europe and other regions;
- a joint programme for mid-size cars for Opel/Vauxhall and the Peugeot and Citroen brands.
The first vehicles based on these common programmes will launch by the end of 2016. All four projects will combine the best platform architectures and technologies from the partners.
GM and PSA have also confirmed they are taking the next steps in their joint purchasing organisation, which remains subject to antitrust approvals. Speaking at the recent Paris motor show, PSA Chief Executive Officer Philippe Varin said that approvals should be in place by November.
Progress towards joint purchasing and the collaborative vehicle programmes should ensure the partners achieve the previously stated synergy target of US$2bn/year within five years.
“With the common vehicle development projects and next steps in purchasing organisation now confirmed, the teams will work to finalise the associated definitive agreements in addition to exploring other cooperation opportunities,” GM states.
The alliance is supervised by an Alliance Steering Committee, which consists of five top executives from each company. This group oversees all aspects of the evolving partnership and will consider additional areas of cooperation. Although the partnership is technically global, it is the European operations at both partners that will benefit the most.
Although considerable benefits are expected, the partnership has not been without consequences. BMW, PSA’s spurned partner in terms of hybrid powertrain development following the new alliance with GM, is reportedly demanding compensation in the realm of “several tens of millions” of euros from PSA. Although GM and PSA have not outlined any specific hybrid plans, PSA spokeswoman Laure Servigny reportedly confirmed to Bloomberg that the GM/PSA collaboration could possibly extend to hybrid powertrains. PSA already produces a diesel-electric hybrid on its own account, while GM has invested heavily in the proprietary plug-in hybrid powertrain of its Volt and Ampera models.