GM-PSA pact lowers purchasing costs but method and timeline still unknown

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 21, 2012

One can easily understand how PSA Peugeot Citroen and General Motors can save money on shared purchasing of components. However, the question of when and how their new-model strategies can combine is still less clear. The partnership will aid GM to cut the number of its worldwide automobile platforms to 14 in 2018 from 30 in 2010.

This is a target that the company has set in 2011. However, it will be several years before the two automakers can line up their model offerings. Moreover, it is vague as to how the alliance will affect the worldwide small-car development center of GM in South Korea.

Aside from diesel technology, small-car expertise is a key aspect of know-how that PSA brings into the partnership. In addition, the partners both offer hybrid technology. Last month, they disclosed that they will introduce jointly developed "low-emission vehicles" in 2016. However, none of them has described the automobiles or the segment they will joining.

GM CEO Dan Akerson has disclosed in an interview last week with Fortune magazine that they are looking at sharing common platforms. He related that GM is better in certain segments than PSA. He also said that PSA is better in smaller cars and maybe diesels than GM. 

The Opel Corsa and Chevrolet Spark, among other small GM models created at GM Korea, could share a platform with the new generation of the Citroen C3 and Peugeot 208. However, both partners are ready to launch new models in those segments, says Autonews. A refurbished Peugeot 208 will be launched for sale next month.

Also, the redesigned Corsa will arrive in showrooms in 2014 on a platform developed by GM Korea. GM is not likely to replace the Corsa until 2019 or 2020. Meanwhile, PSA is not expected to change the 208 until 2018 or 2019.

The question then arises as to where the next global B-segment GM cars or minicars will come from. Senior analyst Max Warburton at Bernstein Research in London commented that the automakers are going to have to choose between doing something with the platform of PSA or basing it on the Korean platform, which may be cheaper compared to anything developed in Europe.

Topics: gm, psa, partnership

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