General Motors could be looking to exit its European business, according to the Detroit News.
“PSA Group, the French maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, said Tuesday that it is exploring an acquisition of General Motors Co.’s European business, though it said it had ‘no assurance that an agreement will be reached,'” Melissa Burden reported, adding that “[t]he two companies have worked together since 2012 through an alliance that so far has included three projects in Europe and has helped create synergies for both companies.”
GM’s European division consists of the Opel and Vauxhall brands and has been part of the carmaker since before World War II.
In the aftermath of GM’s 2009 bankruptcy, there were intense discussions around shedding Opel, but the automaker ultimately decided to retain its European operations whose engineering platforms undergird some of the vehicles that GM sells in the US and other markets.
Since then, GM has struggled to make Opel/Vauxhall perform up to expectations in Europe, as that market has largely disappointed most carmakers.
In 2015, GM pulled Chevy out of the Russian market, as part of an overall corporate from CEO Mary Barra to maximise the company’s capital returns.
However, selling Opel/Vauxhall to the PSA Group would be an order of magnitude above the Russian decision. GM would effectively be abandoning its third-largest global market, behind North American and China. The company’s immediate goal has been to return Europe to break-even status, but that objective has been undercut by the Brexit vote.
“Since 2012, General Motors and PSA Group have been implementing an alliance covering, to date, three projects in Europe and generating substantial synergies for the two groups,” GM said in a statement.
“Within this framework, General Motors and PSA Group regularly examine additional expansion and cooperation possibilities, as well. PSA Group and General Motors confirm they are exploring numerous strategic initiatives aiming at improving profitability and operational efficiency, including a potential acquisition of Opel Vauxhall by PSA.
GM added, “There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached.”
GM shares were trading up 3% in pre-market action on Tuesday, to $US37.