PSA Peugeot Citroen says it was not aware partner, General Motors, was about to completely sell its 7% stake in the French automaker, although it insists cost saving synergies will still go ahead.

General Motors seems to have taken its French partner by surprise with its announcement last night (12 December) that sees it exit PSA after barely more than 18 months of its strategic alliance.

"Of course we were not aware of this exit," a PSA spokeswoman told just-auto from Paris. [But] "The industrial project we decided about, to produce vehicles in common, that is still valid.

"It is 700,000 vehicles - Zaragoza will do B segment and Sochaux the 3008 - that is still true. The synergies we announced are still true - the common purchasing organisation" [for example].

PSA estimates common buying has saved EUR60m (US$83m) already, while from 2018, it says both groups are envisaging cost efficiencies of EUR1.2bn.

"The GM-PSA alliance does not depend on capital that GM has in PSA," said the spokeswoman. "The alliance is still valid. We do understand GM asks itself these sorts of questions."

GM's exit will fuel further speculation PSA is about to potentially reveal a deeper partnership with Dongfeng, although the automaker is declining to be drawn on the issue.

"We work [on] and examine potential partners for industrial, commercial developments, including Dongfeng," said the PSA spokeswoman.

"What is important is in terms of the alliance, vehicle development and producing in each of the two sites of the group, is still valid."