Italian carmaker Fiat and French auto group PSA/Peugeot Citroen will carry on their collaboration on light commercial vehicles, despite PSA's partnership with American automaker company General Motors Co. Fiat and PSA produces the Citroen Jumper, Fiat Ducato and Peugeot Boxer large vans in a joint venture factory in Val di Sangro, Italy, the birthplace of Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne.
According to Fiat, the Val di Sangro plant is largest producer of vans in Europe, with an annual capacity of 250,000. The joint venture defines no fixed timespan and there are no plans to change it, a PSA spokesperson told Automotive News Europe. Fiat remarked that its cooperation with PSA is working well and will continue to do so in the future. PSA also buys the two smallest vans in its range -- the Citroen Nemo and Peugeot Bipper -- from TOFAS, a Turkish subsidiary of Fiat. The vans are built alongside sister model Fiat Fiorino.
The contract will expire in mid-2015 and both carmakers refused to speculate on future possible developments.
According to Max Warburton, a Bernstein Research analyst, light commercial vehicles are considered crucial to European carmakers' fiscal health since they account for around EUR300 million to EUR400 million in annual operating profit a year for auto companies like Fiat, Renault and PSA. Warburton remarked that the LCV segment is the most overlooked profit driver of the European auto industry, with margins far above that of all but the highest end premium cars.
GM and PSA signed December 20, 2012, the formal agreements for a purchasing joint venture and three passenger car joint projects – following a February 29, 2012 memorandum of understanding for a strategic alliance between them to cut costs in Europe.