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…)
Europe’s car market may still be in the dumps, but our favorite maker of plucky Romanian low-cost transportation is doing just fine, thank you very much.
We can’t help it that there is so much crummy news about GM, but here is something decidedly positive: GM “has no plans to make additional investments in its French partner PSA Peugeot Citroen SA which is subject to the depressed European automobile market,” Dow Jones Newswire says via NASDAQ. The wire heard it from Dan Akerson himself, so it must be true. (Read More…)
The sagging EU economy led to the worst car sales since 20 years (cause and effect could also be the other way round.) With so much riding on car sales, France’s La Lettre Auto K7 found a way to predict them with greater certainty: They simply ask car dealers how many orders they received. Most volume brands in Europe are built-to-order, and even in the worst economic climate, that takes a minimum of 4 weeks until the car is ready to be registered. That’s when usual statistics recognize the sale.
The UK, infamous for having lost most of its former automaking glory, and supplier of the short-lived “American Leyland” moniker for GM (“Government Motors” stuck) is roaring back. The island nation is set “to overtake France as Europe’s second largest automotive producer within the next five years if UK car sales and exports maintain current strong growth,” Reuters says.
Imagine the embarrassment in Paris! (Read More…)
Renault chief Carlos Ghosn is reaching out, forging foreign alliances with a heavy emphasis on emerging markets. “Faced with the slump in the European markets,” writes the French Figaro, Renault is “edging closer to Mitsubishi.” Nothing is official, and if you ask on the record, you get firm denials, such as the “this is not true,” told to Reuters by a Mitsubishi Motors spokesman. Behind the scenes, there are traces of heavy petting. Let’s look into them. (Read More…)
The EU is very stingy when it comes to financial support for its automakers, and it prohibits most monetary assistance given by EU states to their industries. Of course, there are exceptions, and one such exception makes possible a $516 million loan to Renault. (Read More…)
Folks who are not intimately familiar with the peculiarities of the European auto industry often call Renault a similar basket case as its French rival Peugeot. January through March, both are down in Europe, PSA (-15.3 percent) more than Renault (-8.3 percent), but the big difference is that Renault has a much wider international footprint. What’s more, Renault owns 44.3 percent of Nissan. This international footprint helps Renault solve problems in ways Peugeot can’t touch. For instance, by making Nissans. (Read More…)