Both companies are denying it, but something still smells fishy…
For the second time in a little more than a month, rumblings about French automaker PSA (Peugeot Citroen) - which owns Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Vauxhall, and Opel - acquiring Jaguar Land Rover have come to surface. Previously, the rumors came from PSA boss Carlos Tavares himself when he acknowledged the company would be interested in a merger if JLR were up for grabs. This time, evidence that PSA has been giving the idea serious consideration has come to light through a leaked "post sale-integration” document acquired by Press Association (PA). The document outlines how the two companies would work together after the British automaker’s hypothetical takeover by Peugeot Citroen and gives examples of the benefits both brands stand to reap. In short, the document made it sound like the French automaker was far along in talks to take JLR off the hands of its current parent, Indian automaker Tata Motors.
Seen in context with Jaguar Land Rover’s current financial situation, which is bad enough that the carmaker is undergoing a large-scale cost-cutting plan, the deal makes sense. Still, Peugeot Citroen was quick to issue a statement denying the claims, saying, "We have no knowledge of such a document,” PSA said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. Tata Motors fired off a statement of its own, saying, "As a matter of policy, we do not comment on media speculation,” Tata said. "But we can confirm there is no truth to these rumors.” Tata’s stance doesn’t seem to have changed since it mentioned that it was too committed to its British subsidiary to consider offloading it.
However, Peugeot Citroen also mentioned that it was open to the idea of buying up Jaguar and Land Rover if the opportunity were there. "On principle we are open to opportunities that could create long-term value for PSA Group and its shareholders,” said Alain Le Gouguec, a spokesman for PSA. Given that Peugeot Citroen has managed to turn Opel and Vauxhall around rather quickly after it bought the two brands from General Motors in 2017, maybe trying its hand at saving Jaguar and Land Rover wouldn't be such a bad thing.