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.
An obscure story in the Azerbaijani press this past summer may be the tip of a much larger iceberg involving General Motors, PSA Peugeot Citroen and the Western World’s current bete noir: the Iranian regime currently embroiled at the heart of a controversial nuclear program, which is subject to economic sanctions by the United States government, including those that specifically target Iran’s automotive industry.
Citing reports from Iran’s Mehr news agency, an Azerbaijani news outlet reported that an unspecified number of brand new Chevrolet Camaro RS 2LT convertibles were imported by a division of Iranian conglomerate Iran Khodro. According to the report, the Camaros were sent from Miami to Paris, and then from Paris to Tehran via a Qatar Airways plane. The report also states that US Customs and Border Patrol documents list the final destination as the Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone.
August sales reports are starting to come in and the European market continues to be soft, with new car sales down 11% in France and 18% in Spain from the same period last year. Analysts attribute part of the Spanish decline to increased sales in August 2012 ahead of a 3% VAT increase last September. With new government subsidies now in place in Spain, September 2013 sales should go up.
In France, registrations were down with Ford, VW and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen being the biggest losers. Volkswagen group sales in France were down 24%, Ford -19% and the French PSA combine was down 17%. August is typically a slow sales month in France because it’s the time of year when many French families vacation, but the overall 11% decline in August was only slightly worse than year to date sales which are down 10%. On the gaining side were GM, up 16% on Chevrolet sales being up 64%, Fiat, up 10% and Renault just barely exceeded Aug 2012 sales, up 2%. Mercedes-Benz sales were down 37%, reflecting the continuing dispute between Damiler and French authorities over their use of the banned R134a air conditioning refrigerant. A court injunction last week lifted the French ban on the sale of those Mercedes-Benz models.
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.
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.
A $9.25 billion (€7B) loan guarantee from the French national government for the Banque PSA Finance arm of PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Europe’s second largest car company, will likely gain approval from European Union regulators next week, according to sources cited by Reuters and Bloomberg.
While Equitorial Guinea is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, only half of the people have access to clean, safe drinking water. One fifth of children born in the country die before they are five years old. Two years ago the French government raided the €80 million, 101-room mansion near the Champs Elysees belonging to Teodorin Obiang, the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in power since 1979. Among the treasures found in the mansion were a cache of supercars, which have now been sold off.
Peugeot gave up on the North American market after the 1991 model year, thanks to poor sales of their new 405. I haven’t seen one of these cars on the street for at least 15 years, and junkyard sightings have been correspondingly rare. When I spotted this car at a Northern California self-serve yard a couple months back, it took me a moment to figure out what it was. (Read More…)
No, the headline is not just empty click-bait. According to La Tribune, GM and PSA are looking at bringing some current Peugeot and Citroen products to America. The only catch is that they’d be commercial vans.
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…)
The fight over the flammable refrigerant takes a new twist. France refused to register Mercedes A-Class, B-Class and SL cars assembled since June 12, even though German authorities have approved them, a Daimler spokesman told Reuters. (Read More…)
Imagine (sorry) you are on your death-bed, surrounded by your friends and families, who are divided in two camps. One group bets big on how soon you will die. The other group calculates how much your body-parts will bring after you are cut up. Now you know how PSA poor Peugeot Citroen must feel. (Read More…)
Mired in the same overcapacity crisis as the rest of Europe’s auto makers, the founding family of PSA is reportedly willing to give up control of the company that owns Peugeot and Citroen in exchange for a fresh infusion of capital from GM, which currently owns 7 percent of PSA.
As we all know, the European car market is in bad shape. France, one of Europe’s volume markets, is especially hard hit. The month of May was no exception. The French market was down 10.3 percent. Red ink and nose blood was running just about everywhere. Everywhere except Fiat. Fiat, the Italian patient, looks amazingly alive in France. Their passenger vehicle sales were up a whopping 12.3 percent in May and 6 percent for the first five months. In a market that tanks, just staying afloat would be a big deal. Double digit is huge. It was, until the scrappy auto site 7pm-auto.fr started digging. They found that the growth was made by dealers buying their own cars. (Read More…)