The fate of PSA and the Algerian people has been intertwined for decades. The group’s Aulnay plant, which is due to close, was originally staffed by immigrants from North Africa, lured by the promise of a better life and secure jobs in France. And while Peugeot sales withered in France, the brand has been traditionally strong in North Africa, with 2011 bringing a 93 percent increase in sales for Peugeot.
But Algeria’s push for a domestic car industry doesn’t seem to include PSA. Arch-rival Renault is due to set up a factory in the country, but PSA has apparently rejected overtures from the French government to take a stake in the ailing car maker.
French President Francois Hollande is due to visit Algeria this week, and is eager to discuss the possibility of Algeria investing in PSA. But according to French paper La Tribune, Algeria wants no part of it.
Instead, they want to emulate the situation in Morocco, and that means a domestic car manufacturing industry in partnership with Renault. La Tribune reports that a deal with Renault will be signed any day now, and Algeria even decided to forgo a plant with Volkswagen so the Renault deal could go forward. Under the terms of the Renault agreement, the Algerian government will hold a 51 percent stake in the plant, which will produce the Renault Symbol – a rebadged Dacia Logan.
Despite the rebuff, PSA is still strong in Algeria, with Peugeot ranking as the #2 brand behind Renault. But that won’t do much to aleviate PSA’s troubles in its home market. The birth of a domestic auto manufacturing industry in the former colonies, right alongside the slow death of France’s own industry only makes things worse.