Citing the Monday edition of French financial newspaper La Tribune, Agence France-Presse said the two automakers were considering an alliance, and that a BMW delegation had visited the offices of the French presidency, prime minister and finance minister on 21 January “to confer with technical advisors”.
“The government is considering new areas of cooperation for French auto makers,” the paper reportedly said, adding that Peugeot was looking for a “true alliance.”
PSA and a French government spokesman subsequently declined to comment to AFP.
A BMW spokeswoman told just-auto a meeting did indeed take place in Paris “but it didn’t involve the president, or the prime minister or finance minister – or, indeed, PSA.
“It was not about industrial cooperation at all. It was actually one of our guys meeting with the government’s technical advisers on the broad issues of CO2 reduction and electro-mobility.”
She said BMW had said during the meeting that it would welcome exploring ways of “close cooperation between Germany and France” on “agreed common measures and frameworks so any developments in future mobility were sustainable”.
“It was a working meeting, it wasn’t anything to do with working more closely with PSA, or, indeed, talking to the president or prime minister, or finance minister. There were no ministers present.”
She added it was purely a “political meeting looking at the political frameworks for future developments.”
“It wasn’t anything to do with what any French manufacturer would want or what we necessarily would want. It was just a general chat about closer dialogue, really.”
She said no-one from the French motor industry, or representing PSA, was present.
PSA told just-auto it had no comment as the meeting was a private one solely between French representatives of BMW and the government.
Peugeot already cooperates with BMW – sharing a line of 1.4- and 1.6-litre engines used in various Peugeot and Citroen models with the German automaker which uses them in its MINI range. The PSA-designed engines replaced the Chrysler-designed engine, built in Brazil, that was used in the first-generation Mini, and later supplemented by a 1.4 turbodiesel supplied by Toyota.
The French government is expected to unveil a plan to support the French auto industry in the first half of February, the AFP report noted.