Head of GM's Opel says talks with PSA on track - paper

VIENNA Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:00am EST

VIENNA Dec 16 (Reuters) - Talks between General Motors' Opel unit and France's PSA Peugeot Citroen on joint vehicle development are on track, while there are no plans at this stage to build cars together, Opel's interim chief executive told a newspaper.

"The quality of the talks is really very good. And the operational and technical advantages are so great that we will surely will be able to wrap up soon the negotiations on joint vehicle development," Thomas Sedran told WirtschaftsWoche.

The plan is to come up with four new model series by 2016/2017: a successor to the Opel Zafira family van, two compact cars and a successor to the mid-sized Opel Insignia and Citroen C5.

GM and Peugeot unveiled an initial alliance agreement in February with the goal of saving at least $2 billion annually within five years, evenly split between the partners.

GM paid 320 million euros ($419 million) for a 7 percent stake in Peugeot as part of the original deal.

People close to the situation told Reuters last month that the partners had halted talks on an even deeper tie-up amid misgivings about the French carmaker's worsening finances and government-backed bailout.

Opel aims to boost business in Russia and Turkey by capitalising on its German brand, Sedran also told Germany's Wirtschaftswoche.

It was working on a plan to boost Opel sales in China from 5,000 units a year now. "You can only be successful in China if you produce there. Plants in Europe aren't much help."