This is going to take some getting used to
Well, it's finally official. After many rumors and speculation, it's been confirmed that French automaker PSA Group is buying Opel and Vauxhall from General Motors as part of a $2.3 billion takeover. The acquisition, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, will make the PSA the second-largest carmaker in Europe after Volkswagen with a 17% market share. As part of the deal, PSA will acquire six assembly plants and five component-manufacturing facilities, as well as an engineering plant in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
Around 40,000 employees will join the PSA, which owns Peugeot, Citroen, and DS, but GM will retain the engineering center in Torino, Italy. The takeover will result in cost savings for purchasing, manufacturing and research and development - PSA is predicting that at least €1.7 billion will be saved by 2026, allowing Opel to generate a "positive operational free cash flow by 2020". PSA will continue to collaborate with GM, however. Both companies will continue to develop electrification technologies and manage existing supply agreements for Holden and certain Buick models. Potentially, PSA may also source a long-term supply of fuel cell systems from the GM and Honda's joint venture.
PSA will also be taking over GM's European financial operations in a joint venture with Paris-based banking firm BNP Paribas, which will retain GM Financial's current European platform and team. "We are proud to join forces with Opel/Vauxhall and are deeply committed to continuing to develop this great company and accelerating its turnaround," said PSA boss Carlos Tavares. "We respect all that Opel/Vauxhall's talented people have achieved as well as the company's fine brands and strong heritage. We intend to manage PSA and Opel/Vauxhall capitalizing on their respective brand identities."
Having already created together winning products for the European market, we know that Opel/Vauxhall is the right partner. We see this as a natural extension of our relationship and are eager to take it to the next level." Of course, the future fate of Opel cars in North America is anyone's guess, though PSA has said before about the possibility of selling Opel-branded cars outside of Europe for the first time rather than rebadged Buicks in an effort to revive the company and cash in on the demand for German cars in the US. No doubt we'll find out more about the potential repercussions in the coming weeks.