Another One Bites The Dust: PSA Fires Streiff

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
another one bites the dust psa fires streiff

It’s been the weekend of the long knives for auto execs the world around. Rick Wagoner “did the right thing” and “resigned.” Meanwhile, across the frog pond, the board of French carmaker PSA had to unceremoniously fire Chief Executive, Christian Streiff, on Sunday. They replaced him with Philippe Varin, who will take up the position on June 1, Reuters writes.

The French board definitely has less of a stomach for losses than their American colleagues. Streiff was let go “after Peugeot last month posted a €343m ($460m) net loss and said it expected to stay in the red until 2010,” says Reuters. A measly three digit million number would barely register on a Detroit Richter scale. Not so in France. They want rolling heads:

“The board unanimously judged that the exceptional difficulties faced by the auto industry imposed a change of management,” Chairman Thierry Peugeot said in a statement.

Streiff said he “cannot understand the board’s decision.” (What’s so hard to understand, Christian? They don’t like you anymore.)

Streiff apparently had to clean out his desk, toss the family pictures in a cardboard box, and vacate his offices at the swank Paris PSA headquarters in a hurry. Board member Roland Vardanega will take on the role of CEO during the interim period until Varin steps in, Peugeot said.

Peugeot is number two in Europe in terms of sales behind Germany’s Volkswagen.

The Frenchman with the German name was CEO of Airbus before he took the helm of PSA in February 2007. Streiff was hospitalized at the end of May 2008 after a health incident. He returned to work in July and said at the time he had completely recovered.

According to Reuters, “Peugeot had already seen a number of other big changes in senior management, and analysts openly questioned whether people were leaving in anticipation of a merger.”

Abandon ship before a merger with whom? Fiat had been rumored a few weeks ago, but then adamantly denied any plans for a hitch-up. At the same time, a grande alliance between PSA and Renault was floated and immediately denied.

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  • A is A A is A on Mar 30, 2009
    As far as I can tell, Europeans are either numb, suckers, or both. I am European ;-) A relative of mine that sells cars (Fiats!) says that people is masochistic, buying the same unreliable Peugeot/Citröen/Renault/Fiat crap over and over. Overpriced? They’re among the cheapest cars in their classes, and are always heavily, heavily discounted. Discounted crap is still expensive crap. A car you can not trust is just a cruel joke. Americans learnt the hard way that heavily discounted cars are usually very poor choices. Americans do not seem to understand the Europeans view of the cars. Some europeans neither. For instance, me. So having tried Peugeot 308 versus Toyota Auris, my humble opinion is that the Peugeot is a much nicer looking car and immeasurably nicer place to be in. Please read what Top Gear said about the Peugeot 307: No area of fit, finish or reliability ranks above awful for this heap IMO Peugeot does not deserve my money. Peugeots have been very unreliable in the last 10 years. I am far more interested in driving a nice looking car with a great interior and have one more trip to the service a year then having to drive a drab boring looking Toyota the whole year around A 2004 Toyota Avensis is just what I drive. I am inmensely satisfied with my car: Zero problems, comfort, safety, efficiency (59mpg, imperial) and -in my eyes- a very beautiful car. It is interesting to check how differently different people can think about the same issue. (Gosh, you bought a Peugeot 308. You can say the same about me and my Avensis)

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Mar 30, 2009
    Americans do not seem to understand the Europeans view of the cars. What, that it's ok if it breaks down frequently? Is that the European take on consumer goods? That if it breaks down it's not a big deal because it's not absolutely essential? Or, to put it another way: it's ok if it's crap, so long as it's stylish crap that works well when it's actually working, even if it costs me an extra thousand Euro in repairs each year? Look, I'm a reasonably mellow dude, but that's pushing it. Side: I'm Canadian, so I'm halfway between the two. Maybe that's why I don't understand.

  • Szi65724742 Not saying dude's not a douche, but Google Maps doesn't show a stop sign at any of the three Walmarts dumping onto 60 - there's a stop-line at best. And while you nerd-rage at a random dude in a truck, a similar thing happens ALL. THE. TIME here - get Prius'd and Tesla'd every single day. I got hit while stopped at a stoplight. 7:30am, sunny morning, clear, straight sightlines for a couple miles. Was a loaded down work van. I don't rage and yell to get those off the streets. Blame the drivers, not the vehicles.
  • AMcA This, from the same regulatory agency that mandates the two adjacent outboard and center rear seat buckles be incompatible, so that the impatient passenger who hits the wrong buckle the first time simply gives up. You oughta watch my husband in the back of a cab. Every time he tries to put the outboard belt into the center buckle. The belt and buckle are incompatible and won't latch. He says "godamn [insert vehicle brand]" and stays unbelted.
  • VoGhost Twenty comments, but none acknowledging that the 'Elon promised me a $35K car!' propaganda can end now. But then, accountability was never a strong suit of the anti-America crowd.
  • AMcA Old school VW HVAC controls were impossible. On Beetles and Type 2s, there were two little levers down on the floor next to the hand brake. No labels or anything, you had to know what they did. One got you more heat, one could direct it on the windshield or the floor or shut off the flow entirely. All operation was done by trial and error. Defrosting was almost impossible to get right in a hurry.
  • VoGhost The big news today is that GM joined Ford in accepting Tesla's dominance in the charging market.