Multiple media sources are reporting that an acquisition of General Motors’ European divisions by France’s PSA Group could occur within a matter of days.
Talks between GM and PSA, maker of the Peugeot, Citroën and DS brands, are reportedly at an “advanced stage.” If finalized, the deal would see GM shed the money-losing divisions it has owned for nearly a century.
Speaking to Germany’s Handelsblatt earlier this morning, a spokesperson for Peugeot claimed that the talks did not concern an expanded partnership, but rather an outright acquisition of GM’s German and British subsidiaries.
GM purchased Vauxhall in 1925 and Opel in 1929. Product alignment between Detroit and Europe tightened in past years as GM adopted global architecture. The next-generation Buick Regal, based on the Opel Insignia, is expected to be built in Germany. How the potential sale will affect products like the Regal remains to be seen.
While the two brands give GM a strong presence in Europe, Opel and Vauxhall have kneecapped GM’s finances year after year. Last profitable in 1999, the two brands were expected to turn a profit in 2016. What actually occurred was a $257 million loss.
Attributing factors included Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, which depressed the UK’s currency. PSA, on the other hand, is surging after years of decline. The French automaker, buoyed by a government bailout, has an aggressive plan to boost profits and increase its share of the European market.
Handing over a majority stake in the two companies would wrestle GM free of the financial burden. It would also make PSA the continent’s second-largest automaker, holding 16 percent of the European market, reports Bloomberg. PSA shares climbed following the news.
GM sold its 7-percent stake in PSA in 2013, though the two companies continue to share production of SUVs and minivans.
In a statement, the American automaker downplayed expectations:
PSA Group and General Motors confirm they are exploring numerous strategic initiatives aiming at improving profitability and operational efficiency, including a potential acquisition of Opel Vauxhall by PSA.
There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached.
[Image: General Motors]