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GM and Honda create Michigan-based joint venture for mass production of fuel cell systems

A definitive fruit of a 2013 master collaboration agreement between American carmaker General Motors and Japanese auto company Honda has finally been realized.

Considered as two of the leaders of in fuel cell technology among carmakers, GM and Honda inked in 2013 a long-term agreement to co-develop the next-generation fuel cell system as well as hydrogen storage technologies. The two carmakers also aimed to advance refueling infrastructure to improve the viability of fuel cell vehicles. To achieve this, GM and Honda planned to share expertise and economies of scale as well as pursue common sourcing strategies – thereby making fuel cell systems less costly to produce for the carmaker and more affordable to end consumers.

The agreement resulted in the establishment of the Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC (FCSM), a manufacturing joint venture – as its name obviously indicates -- that will focus on the mass production of an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system that will be employed in the upcoming products from GM and Honda. The two carmakers will invest in equal amounts a total of $85 million in the joint venture – the first in the auto industry – with an aim to commence mass production operations by the end of the decade (2020). FCSM will be based within GM’s battery pack production site located in Brownstown, Michigan.

Read the entire article GM and Honda create Michigan-based joint venture for mass production of fuel cell systems

General Motors and PSA are scaling back their alliance

General Motors and PSA/Peugeot Citroen are scaling back an alliance announced in 2012. PSA is seeing the possibility of selling a stake to Dongfeng Motors in exchange for an investment while GM is seeking to have greater control of its future in Europe. According to PSA, a planned joint platform for subcompact cars that was the focus the alliance could be cancelled, as “further analysis showed that the business model just wasn't there.”

PSA said in a statement on its quarterly results that planned mid-term synergies of $1 billion for the French carmaker from the alliance may be revised downward. Barclays analyst Kristina Church told Reuters that the plan to replace the Peugeot 208, Citroen C3 and Opel Corsa subcompacts with a common small car was "absolutely key" to the alliance.

She noted that GM appears to have no focus on the alliance with PSA anymore since the US carmaker doesn‘t want to “be partnered with a struggling company.” She added that GM also has alternative methods to turn things around. PSA spokesman Jean-Baptiste Thomas has remarked that the alliance with GM is going on as scheduled, but said that there are projects under review.

Read the entire article General Motors and PSA are scaling back their alliance

GM, PSA suspend talks on a deeper tie-up

Talks between General Motors and alliance partner PSA Peugeot Citroen about entering a deeper relationship have stopped due to concerns related to the declining finances of the French automaker and the implications of the government-supported bailout, according to sources. Last February, the companies announced that they’ve agreed to an operational partnership.

The two parties had also started to explore a full merging of Peugeot with GM's European unit Opel, which is headquartered in Germany. Two sources said that the discussions were stopped after Peugeot last month agreed to a state guarantee for its lending arm. Another factor was Peugeot’s revelation that its cash position had weakened further.

One source said that the automakers agreed to hit ‘pause’ on the early-stage discussions about a Peugeot-Opel agreement. He added that the plan is suffering due to the government bailout. Another source said that it’s highly unlikely for a deeper tie-up to take place before 2014, which is when the market is predicted to improve.

Read the entire article GM, PSA suspend talks on a deeper tie-up

GM to co-develop four vehicles with PSA

Under the alliance between General Motors Co. and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, they will co-develop four projects. In a statement, the companies enumerated the projects that they will share. The first is a joint program for a compact multipurpose van for Opel/Vauxhall and a compact SUV/crossover for the Peugeot brand.

Then there’s a joint multipurpose program for the small car segment for Opel and the Citroen brand. The third is an upgraded low CO2 small-car segment platform for Opel's and PSA's next generation of cars in Europe and other regions. The fourth is a joint program for mid-size cars for Opel and the Peugeot and Citroen brands.

According to the automakers, they are targeting the end of 2016 for when the first vehicles from these common programs will be launched. GM and PSA said that the four projects will be built, using the top platform architectures and technologies from these two companies.

Read the entire article GM to co-develop four vehicles with PSA

PSA/Peugeot-Citroen has successfully finalized the capital increase of 1 billion euro to strengthen its planned partnership with General Motors Co., the PSA disclosed. The increase in capital was announced in February. The stock sale was reserved for the current stakeholders. It was 78% oversubscribed according to PSA.

Chief Executive Philippe Varin stated that the sale will enable them to finance investments associated with projects at the "core of the strategic alliance" with GM. On March 6, it was announced that the issue price was 8.27 euros per share. This comprised a 42% discount on the closing price from the previous night.

Shares of PSA dropped by 1.3% to 12.63 euros on Tuesday, before the outcome of the issue was announced. Based on the partnership deal, which was disclosed on February 29, PSA and GM are aiming to achieve more than $2 billion in annual savings from shared logistics and purchasing as well as the joint production and development of automobiles and components.

Read the entire article PSA completes 1 billion euro capital increase, solidifying GM alliance

Ten top-level executives have been named to a steering committee that will manage the new alliance between General Motors and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen. These include GM Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky, PSA CFO Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon, GM CFO Daniel Ammann and GM Europe President Karl-Friedrich Stracke.

PSA’s representatives in this committee also include programs chief Jean-Christophe Quemard and purchasing chief Yannick Bezard. In a statement last Thursday, the partners divulged that joint projects will be launched before the end of 2012. Last month, PSA and GM entered a deal to share vehicle platforms and jointly buy parts and materials.

They are doing this to boost the size and the scope of their ranges, post billions in savings on purchasing, and revive their European operations as the result of their alliance.

Read the entire article GM Vice Chairman, PSA CFO among the 10 top-level executives to manage new alliance

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.

Read the entire article GM-PSA pact lowers purchasing costs but method and timeline still unknown

General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen appear to be seeing their new alliance in different angles based on the comments that the companies made last week. On one side, it is clear that GM is searching mainly for aid in Europe. It is generally interested in turning the money-losing Opel around. On the other hand, PSA sees the alliance clearly as a global partnership, basking on the influence of the more than 9 million units a year from GM. In short, PSA is seeking a way to boost sales sharply outside the European region just like what any Europe-based automakers will hope for as they battle high costs.

Starting a partnership when the parties are not on the same goal could pose a problem. For one, GM has a history of alliances that did not work out. However, it may be no more than early-days misunderstanding in the midst of the commotion of a car show. Besides, GM CEO Dan Akerson has previously said that the partnership is "a global alliance that's emerging." 

However in recent talks, executives from GM highlighted the benefits for the automaker's loss-making German unit -- Adam Opel AG. They disclosed that the partnership's joint platform development as well as purchasing could help bring Opel out of the red, they said. A top official at GM disclosed that the joint purchasing will be "a big lever, specifically in Europe."

Read the entire article GM and PSA seem to be in disagreement over several alliance issues

Talks are ongoing between BMW and General Motors about the possibility of collaborating on future technologies. BMW is also considering extending its cooperation with PSA Peugeot Citroen on gasoline engines. At the Geneva Auto Show, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer told reporters that the luxury automaker “can imagine" having a cooperation partner in North America.

Reithofer didn’t give details on what particular areas the talks were centered on. He emphasized that Peugeot also has several partners for cooperation, a strategy that BMW is using too. On Feb. 29, a global alliance was entered between GM and Europe's second biggest auto manufacturer. This permitted GM to own a 7% stake in Peugeot.

The poor sales and overcapacity in Europe have put the French car maker and Opel-Vauxhall (GM's European division) at a far from ideal position. Reithofer said that Peugeot’s tie-up with GM doesn’t affect the French firm’s joint venture with BMW. It also doesn’t have an impact on projects for the joint production to make 4-cylinder gasoline engines. He pointed out that it’s possible that when contracts expire in 2015, the cooperation would be extended. [source: Reuters]

Read the entire article Bmw, GM may collaborate on future technologies

An alliance has been reached between PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and General Motors that aims to achieve $2 billion in annual savings within five years. In a statement, GM CEO Dan Akerson said that this deal offers plenty of opportunity for its two companies. He added that GM’s independent plans as well as this alliance would put GM on track to achieve long-term sustainable profitability in Europe.

PSA CEO Philippe Varin said that this partnership is “rich in its development potential” as the entire group has been tasked to fully benefit from this deal.

GM will get a 7% Peugeot stake while the two firms will share research and development as well as vehicle platforms and technologies. The deal was announced just as the European markets had closed.

Read the entire article GM-PSA alliance aims to achieve $2 billion in annual savings within five years

An alliance has been reached between General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroën, creating a long-term and broad-scale global strategic partnership that will leverage the merged strengths and capacities of the two firms. This alliance is expected to raise their profitability as well as boost their competitiveness in Europe.

The purpose of this alliance is to share vehicle platforms, parts and modules, as well as form a global purchasing joint venture to source commodities, components and other goods and services from suppliers. This alliance will have combined yearly purchasing volumes of about $125 billion.

Each automaker will carry on with marketing and selling its models independently and will continue to be competitive. The alliance will also be flexible enough so that the automakers could consider other ways to cooperate. Under this alliance, PSA Peugeot Citroën aims to raise around €1 billion through a capital increase with preferential subscription rights for shareholders of PSA Peugeot Citroën.

Read the entire article Official: GM and PSA Peugeot Citroen announce global strategic alliance

Renault and Nissan Motor may soon have “closer ties” with General Motors Co., according to Le Monde’s interview with Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and Nissan. Ghosn was quoted to have said, “Today, I remain open to closer ties with GM." He said that if GM is interested, “they will come to us." Ghosn also said that the global auto crisis was "behind us."

Ghosn divulged that during the crisis, he made a proposal to work with GM when he met with Steve Rattner, who led President Barack Obama's autos bailout task force.

What Rattner wanted instead was for Ghosn to manage GM but he declined since he considered it to be unethical to leave at the height of the crisis. In this interview, Ghosn also said that Renault will soon arrive in China, but not within the next three years. Renault’s alliance partner Nissan has already penetrated the Chinese market.

Read the entire article Renault-Nissan interested in closer ties with General Motors

A new brand, Baojun, will be introduced by the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture to handle marketing of its future lineup of passenger cars. The Chinese word Baojun is translated to "treasured horse."

According to the partnership among General Motors Co., Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. and Wuling Motors, the first passenger car model will be launched next year. These plans were outlined last Sunday during a press event in Shanghai.

The first Wuling car model will be a mid-sized sedan based on the Buick Excelle. The car was designed by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center, a Shanghai design studio shared by GM and SAIC. 

Read the entire article SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture introduces Baojun brand in China

General Motors Co. and SAIC Motor Corp. further expands their 13-year partnership by agreeing to jointly develop small engines and transmissions. Last December, these two companies had agreed to set up a joint venture in India to produce small cars and commercial vehicles.

This latest deal leads the way for GM to cope with the demand for small city cars in growing markets and reduce the costs of developing fuel-saving technologies for the US market, where it will have to comply with the new fuel economy standards by 2016.

Analysts said that potential investors will be considering how it manages a strategy for sustained growth in the Chinese auto market. 

Read the entire article GM and SAIC expanding their partnership to develop small engine family and transmission

The restructuring plan presented to the US government recently by GM shows a truly global character as the company is deliberating a workforce cut and selling a portion of its stake holdings in its well-known European division Opel.

The firm is considering as part of their restructuring strategy the possibility of third-party partnerships, alliances and equity stakes whichever will be most beneficial for GM Europe and Opel's survival.

The state of Thuringia in Germany, where an Opel plant operates, is offering to take part in the buy off of Opel's stakes but they require a clear plan for Opel's future before they can be specific about their assistance.

Read the entire article GM and Opel looking for a third-party partnership

In June this year, rival carmakers Ford and Volkswagen inked a memorandum of agreement for a possible strategic alliance. Months after signing the MoU, automotive industry analysts are now floating the ideas of possible merger or an equity swap between the American and German companies. Nonetheless, Ford is quick enough to quash such ideas even before they get out of hand.

Under the signed MoU, Ford and VW are exploring a number of potential projects in several areas like the development of a range of commercial vehicles together. Likewise, a possible partnership would also work to better serve the evolving needs of customers. The parties have already made it clear back then that the potential alliance wouldn’t involve any equity arrangement.

However, The Detroit Bureau published an analysis that the potential alliance between Ford and VW might go beyond the commercial vehicle market, since doing so could be beneficial for both carmakers. For instance, Ford can benefit from VW’s robust presence not just in Europe, but also in Latin America and China. On the other hand, VW can take advantage of Ford’s strong fortified status in the United States, particular in the pickup and SUV segments.

Read the entire article Ford kills rumors over potential merger or equity swap with Volkswagen

Several years ago, on April 15, 2013, Ford and General Motors signed an agreement to jointly use automatic transmissions that both automakers had developed. This was developed mainly for models like the F-150 and the Mustang. For the former, their part of the deal was to share its own 10 speed gearbox to rear wheel drive cars with GM, and in return, they will be able to use the 9 speed gearbox which they can use in front wheel drive crossovers, for a smoother and more efficient drive.

The gearbox seen in this photo, the Hydra-Matic 9T50, which was originally introduced in Chevy models with the 2017 Malibu, 2017 Cruze Diesel and the 2018 Equinox will not find its way inside a Ford model. Rather, the automaker opted to use an eight speed box for models like the Edge and the MKX that replaces the Lincoln Nautilus.

So what made them change their mind? Well, Ford believes that GM’s transmission is not good enough to handle the extra weight that comes from the new gear. That is not all, because it also argues that it does not justify the increased cost required for it to adapt to the Ford models. AutoPacific Inc. analyst, Dave Sullivan, even joked that if he was offered a transmission that did not require much work, outside of tuning it for a specific vehicle, he would take it and run.

Read the entire article Ford won’t use GM’s 9 speed automatic transmission due to cost, efficiency snags

General Motors has long faced issues in the European market. After years of experiencing losses, as well as weakening sales, the brand earlier this year sold off not only its Vauxhall brand but even the Opel brand. Opel is the main brand name that GM uses in Europe with the exception of the U.K. In the United Kingdom, Vauxhall, a British subsidiary of Opel, uses its very own brand name.

GM had disclosed that its European operations experienced a $257 million loss, the 16th year it had done so. GM would then sell the Opel and Vauxhall brands to the PSA Group in a deal valued at $2.3 billion.

For those familiar with the matter, the European operations of Chevrolet, known way back as Daewoo, was also halted in 2013. This was after the Chevrolet brand experienced losses amounting to $18 billion over several years. The phaseout was completed by the later part of 2015. Saab, which is another GM brand, was initially sold in 2010 before succumbing to bankruptcy by 2012.

Read the entire article GM hints at possible full-scale comeback to Europe

Just last year, Cruise Automation was acquired by General Motors, and today, it is the self-driving startup that is gobbling up companies on its own. General Motors is stepping their game up once more. To make things easier for them when it comes to the development of autonomous cars, they decided to acquire California-based Strobe, Inc. Not a lot of you may have heard of this company, but Strobe specializes in LiDAR technology, and that is a huge step forward for companies who are into autonomous systems for automobiles. After the acquisition, Strobe engineers will become part of the automaker’s Cruise Automation team.

Julie Schoenfeld, Founder and CEO of Strobe, Inc., said in a statement that the successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will have to depend on the availability of LiDAR sensors. Furthermore, GM and Cruise will benefit from Strobe’s deep engineering talent and technology backed by a number of patents. And hopefully, the automaker brings these autonomous vehicles sooner than we would think.

LiDAR is different from radar systems because the former uses laser pulses to “see” an area, whereas the latter relies on radar systems to do the same thing. And the LiDAR, as we know, is much more detailed as it creates a better picture of its surroundings, which translates to a more accurate processing of information. In other words, the LiDAR system can see a more realistic picture of what’s around it - from cars, pedestrians, and the road. Therefore, the LiDAR systems will play a pivotal role in the current and future development of autonomous cars. However, radars and LiDARs can complement each other to create a more robust and fault-tolerant sensing suite, operating in a wide range of environmental and lighting conditions.

Read the entire article GM gets closer to producing fully autonomous vehicles with acquisition of Strobe Inc.

It has been two years since Fiat Chrysler Automobiles started courting suitors for a potential buyout. Naturally, two Chinese automakers namely Guangzhou Automobile Group and Great Wall Motor Company have shown interest in this. However, there is another candidate for the potential takeover, and it is none other than Hyundai.

It was The Detroit Bureau who said that Hyundai has shown interest to buyout FCA. This rumour came out last August just after FCA had a meeting with the Chinese automakers. But even after the South Korean automaker expressed their interest, China’s Dongfeng Motor Corp. And Zhejiang Geely are still in the picture.

According to an analyst in charge of automobiles at Eugene Investment & Securities, Lee Jae-il, if a Hyundai-FCA merger actually pushes through in the near future, that will make the South Korean marque the largest automaker in the world, even leaping over Toyota, VW, and Nissan combined for a total of 11.5 million units sold last year. That is not all for Hyundai. This merger will also benefit the South Korean automaker due to an expanded portfolio and high consumer awareness of FCA brands in the United States and Europe. Furthermore, the acquisition will not just increase sales, but it will also help Hyundai fill in its hole in their lineup with SUVs and trucks.

Read the entire article Hyundai and FCA may have a future together