The French government is pushing PSA Peugeot Citroen to buy Opel, says Le Monde, which claims to have its information from sources at the French Finance Ministry and in the entourage of France’s President Francois Hollande. Buying moribund Opel would allow PSA to stand up to “ogre Volkswagen” which “has chosen to eliminate PSA,” as an informant told the Paris paper.
Months ago, combining the hypertoxic assets of Opel and PSA was feted by Luca Ciferri of Automotive News as “a catalyst for reform of Europe’s auto industry.” That auto industry must be in an awful lot of trouble to be rescued by a malaise-merger of the equally sick.
Even a combined PSA/Opel would not reach the European sales of ogre Volkswagen. Internationally, and there’s the real rub, the duo would fall atrociously short of Volkswagen’s international machine. But that would manifest itself many years after the transaction has been completed.
Meanwhile, Le Monde wonders where PSA should get the money to buy Opel. The paper fingers the French government as the investor. It overlooks that no immediate cash would be needed. Morgan Stanley figured a year ago that Opel is worth “minus $7.6 billion,” and that GM would have to spend between $5 and 6 billion to get rid of the problem.
An Opel spokesman in Rüsselsheim called the report “pure speculation”.