Sources close to the situation tell Reuters that Carlos Tavares, Carlos Ghosn’s former second in command at Renault, could start running rival PSA Peugeot Citroen as soon as March. Tavares officially joined PSA as CEO-in-waiting on Jan. 1. According to Reuters, Peugeot had previously said only that Tavares would take over sometime this year. Peugeot Chairman Thierry Peugeot told Le Figaro in an interview published over the weekend that the company’s board of directors would soon decide on the official transition date.
General Motors sort of has a reputation for bad investments in Europe. In 2000, GM made a deal with Fiat wherein Fiat sold 20% of Fiat Auto to GM for $2.4 billion and the Italian automaker took a 6% stake in GM. GM also received a put option which in certain circumstances would have obligated the largest American car company to exercise that option and buy the rest of Fiat. In 2005, to get out of that deal, GM paid Fiat another $2 billion.
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.
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.
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.