A Franco-German merger might be on the cards
It would be fair to say la merde a frappé le ventilateur when news broke - on Valentines Day, no less, that Opel was on the block. Again. With the French automaker PSA in the frame this time. We have been here before.
Last time the bride jilted at the altar was Canadian supplier Magna; this time the would-be suitor is PSA and we learned, just today, that GM and PSA managers have actually been negotiating for months on either the sale of Opel or stronger cooperation between the two. That cooperation is just starting to bear fruit in the form of the Crossland X B-segment SUV which GM has announced, both automakers will share the platform (Citroen's version a C3 Picasso replacement), PSA will supply the engines, and GM will build at Zaragoza in Spain. And there's more to come.
It's also fair to say GM has not done well in Europe. Opel/Vauxhall has been losing money for years, as we noted in our analysis on the day the news broke. Post-Brexit currency moves have not helped despite actions such as closing the Bochum plant in Germany, and giving up on the Chevrolet and Cadlillac brands in the eight years or so since the Magna offer was spurned at the last moment. British unions, which have seen so many plant closure job losses in the 2000s - Ford, MG Rover, Vauxhall Luton, etc - have reacted, of course, demanding government give the same sort of assurances as given to Nissan, recently, but they know well, as we do, if a decision is made to axe a plant, it will go, regardless. And PSA does not have good form on that in the UK, having axed Ryton some years ago. GM, meanwhile reckons a PSA purchase of Opel would benefit both automakers and reportedly has insisted Opel - with its electric car aims - should be kept independent after acquisition, should that occur. It's a wait and see. While you do, we are grouping all our coverage here.
After that, other events this week rather paled but we had news of Ford investing in AI, Adient customising seats for autonomous driving, wondered about Geely and Proton, learned about Daimler and e-mobility and travelled to England's industrial heart to see a post-Brexit boost to auto component making from Tata Steel.
Have a nice weekend.
Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com