By on December 20, 2012

The alliance between GM and PSA is beginning to show concrete results – not just yet, but at least they decided to work on them. In a joint press release, GM and PSA announced that they will jointly work on what they call “three common vehicle platform development projects.”  Meaning cars.  Finally.

Not for this one …

And not too early. The impending divorce between the couple had already been pronounced several times by a high-revving rumor mill, even a new partner for PSA was floated, Tata in India.

The negotiations must have been interesting up to the last minute. Last weekend, Opel’s interim-chief Thomas Sedran said that the two were still “negotiating joint development of four new model series.”  Three days later, it’s down to three.  Which may actually turn out as one platform.  Here they are:

1. A joint program for a C-MPV for Opel/Vauxhall and a C-CUV for the Peugeot brand
2. A joint MPV program for the B-segment for both Groups
3. The co-development of an upgraded low CO2 B-segment platform to feed Opel/Vauxhall and PSA’s next generation of cars in Europe and other regions

Not for this one (low rider version depicted) either …

The fourth model series conspicuously missing is a common platform to underpin the successors of Opel’s Insignia, Peugeot’s 508 and Citroen’s C5. This project caused much excitement over the last months.  French hairs stood up on end on the prospect that French cars could be built in German Rüsselsheim.  Chinese feathers  allegedly were ruffled, because Buick China did not want to share their Insignia platform.

Now let’s look at the surviving three projects.

Will get a joint successor: Opel Zafira

A C-MPV program should deliver the successors of Opel’s  Zafira (based on Astra) and Peugeot’s 5008 (based on 308).

Will get a joint successor: Opel Meriva

The B-MPV program should do the same  for  the Citroen C3 Picasso (based on Citroen C3 and Peugeot 207/208) and the Opel Meriva (based on the Corsa).

MPVs in these classes nearly always are derivatives  of higher-volume models, respective donor cars are noted above.  It would make little sense to jointly develop MPVs which then would have to be “be highly differentiated and fully consistent with their respective brand characteristics” as the press release promises, if they would not sit on a common donor platform, n’est-ce pas?

Should get a joint successor: Opel Corsa

This is where the third project could come in. That “upgraded low CO2 B-segment platform”  would be a replacement for  the Citroen C3 and Peugeot 208 on the French side,  and for the bread and butter Opel Corsa on Opel’s side.  Apparently, a totally new platform is not in the car(d)s. It will be interesting to learn who’s platform will bite the dust and who’s will be “upgraded.”   The French side sits on the PSA PF1 platform. The German side at Opel uses  the SCCS platform which was jointly developed with Fiat. At Opel, it is used by Corsa and Meriva. At Fiat, the italo-germanic platform underpins a small army of cars, up to the Fiat 500L, X, and possibly XL.

Better also get some help: Opel Astra

So far, so complicated. But wait, what about the C-platform? They don’t really want to tell us that the joint C-MPV will sit on an upgraded Delta platform at Opel, while using revamped innards of the 308 as a foundation at PSA? A modern platform architecture should be able to span two classes (easy to say for Volkswagen).  Ample grist for the mill, for years to come.

Oh, the “first vehicles resulting from this cooperation are expected to be launched in 2016.” So let’s get on with it.


PS:  “Based on the success of their collaboration, the partners also announce their intention for new additional global initiatives to broaden the scope of their Alliance and seize future opportunities” (translation: if they get on alright, they might:)

“Co-develop a next generation of high-performance, efficient small gas engines derived from PSA’s global small petrol engine program (EB engine).” (Would that be LPG or CNG?)

“Explore product and industrial initiatives in Latin America or other growth markets.” (Something Opel needs badly. Now.)

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9 Comments on “Get An Umbrella! It’s Raining New Platforms At The GM/PSA Alliance (Opel’s Future, A Pictorial)...”

  • avatar

    God what is that Meriva thing? It’s hideous. Is it supposed to be a tiny van?

  • avatar

    Why is it that all French (PSA specifically) cars (not the beautiful Citreons of the postwar thru 60’s cars), but the modern ones are just always ugly. On every top gear comparison, even from a distance you can pick out which one is the French vehicle. I don’t understand it.

    • 0 avatar

      Back in the 60’s people called French cars ugly. Only now, 50 years later are we starting to understand what they did back then.
      Perhaps we need to try a bit harder and look a bit deeper with the French designs?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think of French cars (or any cars for that matter) in black-and-white, ugly-or-beautiful terms. I will say that I think French cars and the Citroen DS line in particular are very INTERESTING-looking inside and out.

      They utilize proportions, forms, materials and textures in ways other countries don’t. They blaze trails, and the end results may not always be masterpieces of aesthetic cohesion, but they aren’t boring.

      Unfortunately, the less independent Renault, Peugeot, and Citroen get, the less polarizing (and more boring) their designs get. The 508 is a pretty good example of a step down in terms of design innovation.

    • 0 avatar

      In PSA’s case, it’s overdesign, plain and simple. The previous batch of models wasn’t so bad, but it got really bad when you see the current models. Peugeot models and Citroen’s DS line have massive amounts of chrome, too many details (see the Peugeot 208 for example) and a poor attempt at copying the German’s unemotional design. The Citroen DS line is also full of very poor design choices as an attempt at being quirky. The cheaper Citroen models have a decent design most of the time, but some still have far too much chrome and far too aggresive front ends (like the C4).

      Renault does very good designs lately, too bad their good stuff is kept in Europe while us in emerging countries get rebadged crap.

      • 0 avatar

        >>> Renault does very good designs lately, too bad their good stuff is kept in Europe

        Most European car buyers would disagree. The quality of Renault products generally through the last 15 years has been terrible. They might look interesting in pictures but the underlying cars are dire. You thought VW in the US was bad – Renault are several leagues below them.

        Where do I start ? major electrical and mechanical failures, special tools needed for just about any moderate repair, expensive service and parts. A work colleague of mine had a Megane whose headlamp bulb blew. It was virtually impossible to replace it through the access panel. He had to pay the dealer about USD 200 equivalent to dismantle the front of the car to replace the bulbs.

        Renault sales in the UK have been so bad that they have withdrawn half the range from sale.

  • avatar

    Platform sharing has worked well in the past. The two companies actually make great cars but in this current prevailing economic crisis there are to many brands. Sharing platforms will save both companies a great deal of money, with any luck they will take that saved money and put it into quality, individual, brand specific clones. That way they will survive the storm and still be there for the next generation.

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