Toyota And PSA In Tie-Up, Sevelnord Saved - For Now

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
toyota and psa in tie up sevelnord saved for now

While France’s new leftist government mulls a new “drive French” plan and makes threatening gestures in the direction of French car makers that dare to do something about overcapacity, in an odd change of events it is a Japanese company that will prevent a much anticipated plant closure at PSA Peugeot Citroen.

Toyota sent out an innocuous looking press release today in which it announces that it will have PSA make a “medium-sized van based on the Peugeot “Expert” and the Citroën “Jumpy”. The agreement also includes the next generation of the vehicle, for which TME will cover an appropriate share of development and equipment investment costs.”

As Reuters correctly points out, that van will be built at PSA’s Sevelnord plant. This plant had been under the threat of closure for a while, and the deal with Toyota provided it with a new lease on life. Rumors of this to happen had been around since April, now they are confirmed.

Whether this will be a long term relationship is up to the unions, Reuters says. According to the report, those future van models will only be jointly developed and assembled at Sevelnord “if the plant’s unions agree to productivity improvements.” Spanish unions pray their comrades in France will not cave in. Says Reuters: “Without the concessions, the next generation of midsize vans would be moved to Peugeot’s factory in Vigo, north-west Spain.”

It also is an odd twist of events that GM’s arch enemy Toyota rides to the rescue of GM’s partner PSA.

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  • Th009 Th009 on Jul 23, 2012

    Isn't the Expert/Jumpy/Scudo approximately the same size as the Hiace, which Toyota already makes in large volumes? What would motivate Toyota to replace the Hiace (in Europe) with a fourth badge-engineered version of the Peugeot/Citroen/Fiat van?

    • Felix Felix on Jul 23, 2012

      I'm guessing it's because the cab-over (or forward control) configuration of the Hiace won't meet European frontal impact crash standards. Although the heavy trucks in Europe are all cab-over, they don't have to meet the same crash standards as light commercials / light vans, which presumably is the barrier that prevents the current Hiace from being sold in Europe and even the US.

  • -Cole- -Cole- on Jul 23, 2012

    I will never drive a Citroën “Jumpy”.

  • Perc Perc on Jul 23, 2012

    The current (well, outgoing) generation of the European Hiace is the most popular workhorse Finland has ever seen. It's also hugely popular in Norway. The problem is, it doesn't really sell anywhere else. This is probably why Toyota didn't want to update it to meet coming regulations, it just isn't a big seller in the grand scheme of things. In the Finnish market, things are a bit different. The importer stockpiled them and I bet they sold thousands and thousands to people that had a nice one already but wanted to trade up once more while they could. The good ones (2007-8 and up, LWB, 4WD, A/C) command insane prices and haven't depreciated at all ever since word got out that it was getting axed. People really like it that much. The main selling point has always been its legendary reliability. It will easily last twice as long as most European competitors, if not longer, without needing any major repairs... or any repairs at all, frankly. It really is that well built. The European competitors are all more modern, nicer looking, safer, far nicer to drive, quieter, more comfortable, greener and so forth but for a simple workhorse where reliability is the top priority, you just can't beat a Toyota. I can pretty much guarantee that the upcoming French built replacement won't be able to fill those shoes. It'll just be yet another eurobox. Tie rods, ball joints, cv joints, wheel bearings, bushings, electrical problems etc. Problems a Hiace owner just haven't ever needed to worry about.