Opel plans Peugeot-based cars, plant decisions loom

Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:47am EST
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By Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - General Motors (GM.N: Quote) and PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA: Quote) outlined plans to collaborate on a new range of small cars and minivans based on the French company's technology in order to spread development costs across more brands and models.

But tough decisions on where to build different models are still to come for the joint car programs, GM Vice-Chairman Steve Girsky and Peugeot Chief Executive Philippe Varin acknowledged at a news conference in Brussels on Thursday.

To balance a deal in which Peugeot architectures underpin future versions of GM's Opel Corsa, Meriva and Zafira models, the U.S. automaker's engineering centre in Ruesselsheim, Germany, will develop successors to the Peugeot 2008 and Citroen C3 Picasso minivans, Varin and Girsky announced.

"From what I see today there is no negative impact of the alliance on resources on either side," the Peugeot CEO said, when asked about possible job losses.

That may change when it comes to assembling the jointly developed vehicles, due in showrooms from 2016 onwards for sale largely in European markets.

Peugeot and GM's Opel division are both struggling with excess production capacity and mounting losses compounded by a protracted sales slump in Europe - where auto demand is at a 17-year low and still falling.

"These products are coming to market in 2016 so it's premature to make any manufacturing decisions," Girsky said.

"We'll deal with that when the time comes, somewhere down the line."   Continued...

The logos of German General Motors daughter Opel and French car maker Peugeot are seen at a Opel and Peugeot dealership in Leverkusen near Cologne October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay