PSA confirmed that former Renault COO Carlos Tavares will take over the reins starting January 1st. Tavares assumes the role at a fortunate point in time for PSA: an alliance with Chinese car maker Dongfeng is underway, and Tavares’ predecessor, Philippe Varin, has already completed the difficult task of closing factories and cutting thousands of jobs, a difficult task in a country like France.
Now, Tavares will be tasked with helping PSA turn things around, with a slate of new product, a leaner organization and reorganized brand structure. Despite Varin laying much of the groundwork for a potentially revitalized PSA, Tavares could end up in the right place at the right time – able to fulfill his dream of running a car company, while presiding over a successful turnaround.
The next Citroen C3 and Peugeot 208 will not share a platform with Opel’s Corsa as originally planned
In the wake of news that China’s Dongfeng Motors is going to take an equity stake in PSA/Peugeot Citroen, the French automaker says that it is scaling back its alliance with General Motors, which owns 7% of PSA. PSA said that a planned joint subcompact platform that was seen as the basis of the tie-up with GM will probably be cancelled. ”Further analysis showed that the business model just wasn’t there,” a PSA spokesman said. Financial statements released by PSA say that anticipated savings of $1 billion due to synergies with GM will be adjusted downward.
Reuters is reporting that the reason behind PSA/Peugeot Citroen’s financial tie-up with China’s Dongfeng Motors was the decision of General Motors, which owns 7% of the French automaker, to scale back cooperation with Peugeot. GM also apparently rejected a PSA/Opel merger backed by the French government.
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.
After the China Business News reported that Dongfeng Motor will purchase a 30% stake in PSA/Peugeot-Citroen for $1.63 billion (10 billion yuan) the French automaker confirmed that it is indeed having talks with possible foreign partners but would not comment specifically on a possible equity sale to Dongfeng. “We have a partnership with Dongfeng and we are looking at how how we can expand it, but nothing more has been decided,” a PSA spokesperson told the Automotive News. PSA said that it is looking at new industrial and commercial projects with a variety of partners, ”including the financial implications that would accompany them.” PSA has a current market valuation of 4.4 billion euros ($5.95 billion), its stock having doubled in price this year.
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen is negotiating with China’s Dongfeng Motor to expand their partnership in the world’s largest car market. PSA CEO Philippe Varin told reporters attending the opening of a new factory in Shenzhen, China, on Saturday that the French company is seriously considering selling equity to Dongfeng to fund expansion outside of Europe. The sale could diminish the holdings of the Peugeot family, which holds slightly more than a quarter of PSA shares, below a controlling stake in the French automaker. Earlier this year, Reuters had reported that the Peugeots were willing to relinquish control so that GM could take a larger stake in PSA, though General Motors has since indicated that they don’t plan to increase their holdings in PSA. (Read More…)
PSA, parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, is said to be exploring a partnership with China’s Dongfeng, as Peugeot looks for ways to strengthen itself amid weak sales and a perpetually sputtering European car market.
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…)
Fisker is still likely to be rescued by a Chinese savior, but it won’t be Geely. Reuters is reporting that Fisker’s outstanding obligations to the Department of Energy have scared off the Chinese auto maker, leaving Dongfeng as the sole suitor for the beleagured EV maker.
Max Warburton and his team. Warburton, of Bernstein Research, assembled a team to interview over 40 auto executives in China (both Chinese and foreign-born) and even bought two Chinese vehicles from Geely and Great Wall. Warburton had them shipped to Europe, where they were taken to a test track, driven extensively and then taken apart by engineers and automotive consultants. And it was far from pretty.
Not Dongfeng, but China’s Geely currently looks best positioned to profit from U.S. government largesse by buying beleaguered and DOE-funded plug-in car maker Fisker, Reuters reports. According to the report, “Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is favored to secure a majority stake in troubled U.S. electric car maker Fisker Automotive, according to two sources familiar with Fisker’s search for a strategic investor or partner.”
Also according to the report, red flags are sure to flutter over Fisker’s HQ in Anaheim, as Fisker “is currently weighing bids from two Chinese auto makers: Geely, the owner of Sweden’s Volvo, and state-owned Dongfeng Motor Group Co.”
Reports by Bloomberg suggest that Fisker could sell up to an 85 percent stake to Chinese automaker Dongfeng. The automaker apparently bid $350 million for the beleaguered plug-in car maker, according to sources close to the company.
China Business News has the story (via Reuters) that Renault will start a joint venture with Dongfeng, and that “the two firms plan to invest a combined 6.5 billion yuan ($1.0 billion) in a plant in the central province of Hubei with an initial capacity of 200,000 cars a year.” The story promptly went as viral as a story about a Chinese joint venture can go viral.
Officially, the story elicited a “no comment”at Renault. Privately, after they were done yawning, contacts in Paris said that this is a non-story, but a popular one. News about a joint venture between Renault and Dongfeng appear with regularity, but they overlook the fact that Renault has had a joint venture in China for longer than most people seem to remember. (Read More…)
A company owned by China’s central government is taking it on the chin as Chinese customers avoid Japan branded cars. Dongfeng reduced production at its joint ventures with Nissan and Honda, the Wall Street Journal reports today. Amount or duration of what the company calls “production adjustments” is unknown. (Read More…)