Reuters has reported that Chinese automaker Dongfeng and the French government will be taking equity stakes in PSA/Peugeot-Citroen after injecting $4.1 billion into PSA. Under the draft agreement, which is still being negotiated, Dongfeng Motor and the French government will each put 1.5 billion euros into the French automaker, with each of those parties getting a 20 to 30 percent share in the company.
Following the departure of chief operating officer Carlos Tavares, Renault Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn has announced that the company will be adding two new divisions to the existing finance, human resources and CEO office functions. Thierry Bolloré is being appointed Chief Competitive Officer, with responsibilities for Design-Product-Programs, Engineering-Quality-IS/IT, Purchasing, Manufacturing and Supply chain. Bolloré’s replacement as executive vice president in charge of manufacturing and supply chain will be Jose Vicente de los Mozos, reporting to Bolloré. The new position of Chief Performance Officer will be filled by Jérôme Stoll, with responsibilities for Sales & Marketing function, and coordinating Renault’s international operations, which apparently will have more autonomy. Michael van der Sande was named senior vice president for Marketing, replacing Stephen Norman, a member of Renault’s management committee, whose future appointment will be announced separately. Bolloré and Stoll will both report to Ghosn, whose published statement said, “Our objective was to take fast, transparent action by putting in place a clear and simple organization. The aim is threefold: to accelerate and expand our ongoing progress, to ensure performance at Group level and to give the regions more responsibility.”
Biographies after the jump. Read More >
In the continuing saga of Daimler, the EU and banned refrigerants, the German automaker won a provisional ruling from France’s highest administrative judicial body to overturn the suspension of the sale of Mercedes-Benz models equipped with R134a refrigerant in those cars’ air conditioning systems. European Union regulators have banned R134a but Daimler claims that the replacement, R1234yf, can create fire and toxicity safety issues. The French Council of State said that authorities in that country must resume registrations of those Mercedes-Benz models while the case goes on.
A glimmer of hope that the European car market is stabilizing might be seen in the fact that for the first time in nearly two years, French car sales were up in July.
Europe’s second biggest automaker, PSA Peugeot Citroen, has gotten approval from the European Union for the French government to guarantee $9.28 billion (7 billion Euros) in bonds to provide Banque PSA Finance, the car maker’s finance arm, with funds so they can sell cars on credit at competitive interest rates.
The regulatory and verbal war between France and Germany over Mercedes-Benz’s refusal to switch to the R1234yf air conditioning refrigerant has escalated. After a French court ordered a 10 day stay, lifting that country’s ban on R134a equpped A Class, B Class, CLA and SL cars made since June, Daimler expressed confidence that the French government would abide by that ruling. That confidence was apparently badly placed because the French government has now invoked a “safeguard procedure” of the EU that allows member countries to act unilaterally to avoid a serious risk involving the environment, public health or traffic safety, reinstituing the ban. Daimler promised that it would continue fighting to allow the sale of those cars in France. It claims that the new refrigerant is dangerously flammable and toxic. Read More >
After a French court lifted that country’s ban on Mercedes-Benz cars equipped with R134a air conditioning refrigerant, saying that the French ministry for the environment must reevaluate their decision to block those cars, Daimler said that it was “very confident’ that the French government will abide by that court ruling. R134a has been banned for use in new model cars by the EU since the start of 2013.
Last week, the European Union Commission’s Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles meeting affirmed France’s refusal to allow Mercedes-Benz to sell cars using R134a refrigerant, and alsom indicated that other EU countries may block the sale of those cars as well. Now, Honeywell International, which owns the rights to R1234yf, (the only refrigerant currently approved by the EU) said that Daimler’s concerns are unfounded. M-B had run tests showing that under certain circumstances, leaks in the air conditioning system could cause underhood fires, and that when it burns, R1234yf produces poisonous hydrogen flouride gas.
When we last reported on France banning some Mercedes-Benz vehicles because the company refuses to use the now mandated R1234yf refrigerant, representatives from all 28 EU member states were scheduled to meet with the EU’s Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles to discuss the matter, particularly as it regards the sale of M-B vehicles in the 27 other EU countries besides France. That meeting has since taken place and according to a memo issued by the European Commission, those representatives have confirmed that all new vehicles sold throughout the EU must use R1234yf, and that any vehicles with the now banned R134a must be withdrawn from the market in all EU states. The dispute is over the fire safety of the new refrigerant. R134a was banned because it is considered a greenhouse gas. Read More >
In India for the relaunched Datsun brand’s first car, the Go, CEO of the Renault-Nissan alliance, Carlos Ghosn, announced that Renault and Nissan will jointly develop a platform for low cost and ultra low cost cars aimed at India and other emerging markets, which Ghosn believes will make up 60% of the global automotive market by 2016. To do that, the alliance will spend another $5 billion on investments in their Indian operations over the next five years. Renault-Nissan is committed to using India as its global hub for emerging markets, developing the cars there as well as assembling and exporting them. Read More >
Though Ford, VAG’s Seat brand, and Renault’s low-cost Dacia posted gains, overall car and light truck sales in June in Europe were down 6.3% compared to June of 2012, weighed down by declining sales at VW, Opel, Fiat and PSA. According to Automotive News, only 1.18 million new vehicles were registered in the EU and EFTA, the lowest they’ve been in two decades.
Renault hopes to get going on its foray into China, and to sign a joint venture agreement with Dongfeng, Reuters says. “We are waiting for an official invitation from the Chinese industry ministry,” Reuters heard from an insider. Rumors of an impending JV kept Chinese media guessing and speculating for years. Read More >