Analysis: GM may develop future Opel vehicles on its own in Europe

Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:26pm EDT
 
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By Ben Klayman and Paul Lienert

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co's (GM.N: Quote) ability to reverse years of losses in Europe is coming down to products, not partners.

The U.S. automaker appears to be gaining confidence that it doesn't need the help of France's PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA: Quote) or any other partner to stem more than $18 billion in European losses over the past 13 years.

Underpinning that confidence is an ongoing initiative to overhaul and consolidate GM's global vehicle platforms, according to GM executives and U.S. suppliers familiar with the company's plans. That program, the suppliers said, will enable GM to develop and build most future Opel products on its own.

PSA confirmed Wednesday the partners were scaling back a wide-ranging alliance announced in early 2012, with GM likely pulling out of a program to build its next-generation Opel Corsa subcompact on a shared PSA platform.

GM said Wednesday that planned replacements for two Opel compact vans, the Meriva and the Zafira, both due in 2017, would remain on jointly developed PSA platforms, but declined to comment on the future Corsa.

When the PSA-GM alliance was announced 20 months ago, it was "a head-scratcher," said Guggenheim Securities analyst Matthew Stover, who has a "neutral" rating on GM shares. "This deal made no sense for GM," Stover said Wednesday. "It can't keep looking for solutions in others."

Last month, GM executives privately confirmed that a significantly revamped Corsa, still based on an old Fiat platform, would be introduced in Europe late next year. The replacement for that car, due in late 2018, was to have shared a new PSA-designed platform designated EMP1 with the next-generation Peugeot 208 and Citroen C3.

Now, it appears the redesigned Corsa in 2018 will be built on a version of GM's own small-car platform, dubbed Global Gamma or G2XX, the supplier sources said.   Continued...

 
A sign depicting the Opel logo is pictured in front of the Opel Adam AG headquarters in Ruesselheim April 10, 2013. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner