Peugeot to Lead in Platforms for Joint Compacts With GM

General Motors Co. and PSA Peugeot Citroen said the French carmaker will take the lead in developing joint models as the first anniversary approaches of an alliance aimed at restoring profit to European operations.

Peugeot will spearhead work on the three vehicle platforms that both manufacturers will use for compact cars they plan to put on sale in 2016, Chief Executive Officer Philippe Varin said today at joint press conference with GM Europe interim President Stephen J. Girsky in Brussels.

Peugeot, Europe’s second-largest carmaker, and Detroit-based GM, which owns the Opel and Vauxhall nameplates in the region, announced plans for the alliance in February 2012. Projects outlined on Dec. 20 included the chassis and major parts for the compact models as well as a parts-procurement venture in the region.

The component-supply agreement, which the companies said today has met antitrust conditions, will be a “cornerstone” of the alliance, Girsky said. The companies have “nothing to announce” about any joint car manufacturing, he said, reiterating that Opel “is not for sale.”

The first-half net loss at Peugeot amounted to 819 million euros ($1.09 billion). The Paris-based company since then has announced plans to shutter its car plant in nearby Aulnay by 2014 and reduce its French automotive workforce by 17 percent. Peugeot’s deliveries in Europe, where its sales fell faster than the market contracted, accounted for 62 percent of the manufacturer’s sales of fully assembled vehicles in 2012.

Accelerated Shutdown

GM, whose European division has racked up $17.3 billion in losses since 1999, said on Jan. 22 that it may close Opel’s auto factory in Bochum, Germany, two years earlier than planned as the European auto market shrinks for a sixth straight year. The U.S. carmaker became Peugeot’s second-largest shareholder in March 2012 with the purchase of a 7 percent stake for 320 million euros.

Girsky and Varin said today that the partnership should have no effects on jobs at their operations in Germany and France.

The alliance will yield a total $2 billion for the partners in annual cost savings and sales improvements over five years, Varin said in December. GM and Peugeot are looking at a possible fourth platform for fuel-efficient cars, and they’re continuing to consider ways to expand cooperation to growing vehicle markets, such as South America and Russia, the French CEO said today.