* Small cars to be jointly developed from PSA technology
* GM to develop shared small minivans from PSA platform
* First alliance vehicles due in 2016
By Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume
BRUSSELS, Jan 24 General Motors and PSA
Peugeot Citroen outlined plans to collaborate on a new
range of small cars and minivans based on the French company's
technology in order to spread development costs across more
brands and models.
But tough decisions on where to build different models are
still to come for the joint car programmes, GM Vice-Chairman
Steve Girsky and Peugeot Chief Executive Philippe Varin
acknowledged at a news conference in Brussels on Thursday.
To balance a deal in which Peugeot architectures underpin
future versions of GM's Opel Corsa, Meriva and Zafira models,
the U.S. automaker's engineering centre in Ruesselsheim,
Germany, will develop successors to the Peugeot 2008 and Citroen
C3 Picasso minivans, Varin and Girsky announced.
"From what I see today there is no negative impact of the
alliance on resources on either side," the Peugeot CEO said,
when asked about possible job losses.
That may change when it comes to assembling the jointly
developed vehicles, due in showrooms from 2016 onwards for sale
largely in European markets.
Peugeot and GM's Opel division are both struggling with
excess production capacity and mounting losses compounded by a
protracted sales slump in Europe - where auto demand is at a
17-year low and still falling.
"These products are coming to market in 2016 so it's
premature to make any manufacturing decisions," Girsky said.
"We'll deal with that when the time comes, somewhere down
Peugeot, which is cutting some 10,000 jobs and closing a
domestic plant, has already required a capital increase, a 7
billion euro government loan guarantee and 1.5 billion euros ($2
billion) in asset sales over the past year to stay afloat.
Among Peugeot's cuts, research and development accounts for
a significant part of the voluntary departures the company is
seeking from its non-production workforce.
The company said in July its alliance with GM would trim 350
million euros from production costs by 2015, in addition to 500
million euros in cuts from industrial tooling and R&D.
Detroit-based GM, which took a 7 percent Peugeot stake in
the French carmaker's March share issue, also plans to close a
plant in Bochum, Germany, to stem European losses expected
between $1.5 billion and $1.8 billion for 2012.
Varin and Girsky declined to give more details of planned
alliance models, production or launch dates.
Future small cars like the Opel Corsa and Peugeot
equivalents - the 208 and Citroen C3 - will be based on an
architecture jointly developed from the French carmaker's
Architectures are the underlying structures and sets of
components on which whole range of vehicles can be based.
Future replacements for the Opel Zafira and Peugeot 3008
minivans will share the "EMP2" platform about to go into
production in the form of Citroen's C4 Picasso people-mover.
The alliance chose Peugeot underpinnings for the new cars
because they were better suited to the European market, both
In the Opel Zafira category, GM's Girsky added, "we didn't
have enough volume to justify doing it on our own."
The carmakers also reiterated their alliance cost savings
target of $2 billion annually by 2016 - also helped by combined
logistics and a new joint purchasing organisation to begin
operating this year.