Monday 6th of March marked the end of an 88-year era as General Motors announced that it had sold Opel, along with its UK sister brand Vauxhall, to the PSA Group, which owns Peugeot and Citroen.
The deal, worth 2.2-billion euro, will see PSA become Europe’s second largest carmaker and the company expects the resulting synergies to eventually save in the region of 1.7bn euro.
What does it mean for the brand?
One implication that’s practically guaranteed, however, is that future Opels will be heavily based on their Peugeot counterparts, sharing platforms, engines and technologies in a bid to save money through efficiencies of scale, in as far as purchasing and manufacturing is concerned, as well as via shared R&D costs.
Thankfully that's not going to result in any kind of badge-engineering frenzy. PSA will want to maintain Opel’s brand identity and thus future models are still sure to have their own look and feel, just as Peugeot and Citroën models do. Opel’s new Crossland X is already based on a Peugeot (the 2008) due to a previous deal between the two companies, and which will also result in the imminent Opel Grandland X, a C-segment crossover based on Peugeot’s EMP2 platform that also underpins the Peugeot 3008.
Given that the average length of a model cycle is six to seven years, it will take many years for Opel’s full range to become Peugeofied. One point of possible contention is the next-generation Opel Corsa, which is already at an advanced stage of development ahead of its planned release in 2018. Will Peugeot scrap it and instead work swiftly on a 208-based Corsa? Last month Peugeot insiders told Reuters that PSA would make “swift progress on technical convergence” and that this would include launching a Corsa based on Peugeot’s small car architecture.
How about the employees?
From the employment point of view this can be a very bad news for current Opel’s employees and OEM suppliers, as Opel mainly works using Siemens Nx, whereas Peugeot car manufacturing is heavily based on Catia V5. Does that meaning that future Opel’s production will shift from using Nx to Catia V5 in long run? Our feeling is yes, just exaclty as how it has happend a few years ago with Crysler when it was bought by Fiat.
In 2014 when Fiat bought Chrysler from Daimler for 4.35 billion dollars for the remaining 41.5% of stock Chrysler was operating using Catia V5 for its major products. Nowadays, Chrysler are all 100% working on Siemens PLM Nx. The migration process from Catia V5 to Nx started the same year when the company was bought.
Then what will happen to current Opel’s engineers working on Nx? Will they lose their jobs? If so, how PSA Group will manage to fill new needs of Catia V5 Engineers? Will they continue to collaborate with old Opel’s OEM suppliers or decide to go with a new supplier? These are all good questions to answer. Let see the answer won’t take a long time to get answered.
Sources: BBC News, 2017, IOL, 2017, The Motley Fool LLC, 2017.
Thursday Jun 8, 2017