GM Europe and PSA have distanced themselves from speculation the French automaker could buy GM's Opel/Vauxhall, with Russelsheim insisting the GM/PSA commercial alliance is "cast in stone."

Reports in France suggested PSA - which yesterday (9 January) posted plummeting vehicle sales last year down 16.5% to slightly less than 3m units - could table an offer for Opel - but the GM unit firmly rebutted such claims.

"Our official statement is this is pure speculation and nothing else," a GM Europe spokesman in Russelsheim told just-auto. "We just - prior to Christmas - announced the next step where we said we have signed definitive agreements for both purchasing and product developments so this has all been cast in stone.

"We have also said we would look into additional opportunities including engines, so we are in fact expanding it [the alliance]."

PSA has endured a torrid week with rumour after rumour circulating in France it could either merge with Opel or dispose of part of its stake in the component manufacturer Faurecia in which it holds a 57% stake.

That, coupled with the grim sales numbers posted yesterday - partly as a result of severely testing European economic conditions and the ending of completely knocked down (CKD) car exports to Iran - has sent the rumour mill into overdrive - and, although PSA's Paris HQ continued to refute the speculation, it stopped short of issuing a total rejection.

"We have no comments on the Opel rumours," a PSA spokeswoman in Paris told just-auto this morning.