I was sat my desk earlier catching up on the day’s business news of which there has been quite a bit today. Some oof it exciting and some of it not so.
The big one that caught my eye, was that PSA are in talks with General Motors to acquire Opel. Opel is General Motors’ European brand, in the UK they sell under the Vauxhall Name. PSA are known for Peugeot, Citroen and DS
This struck me as very odd and when I thought about this some more it concerned me even more. You see I have owned a few vauxhalls and driven the odd Citroen and quite a few Peugeot Hire cars. I usually seem to get saddled with Puegeot’s when Hertz or Avis run out of Fords or Vauxhall/Opel. In my opinion Peugeot have never got their mojo back since the 80’s. Am I the only one who remembers the 106 GTI, the 205 GTI and the bonkers 405 Mi16. In my opinion all very good and very capable cars that were very fast and a hoot to drive. Citroen? Well I have never really been a fan of these cars. A bit to far to the left field for my liking.
Vauxhall’s and Opel’s on the other hand I have some history with. A company Omega I had for a while was a look alike for an unmarked police car and could go as fast as one! The dealers back in those days however were very much the brands achilies heel. The dealership was a horrid place to spend anytime unless you take pleasure from being treated like a third class citizen. Vauxhall and Opel have had their share of the doldrums as well. The Vectra motor car? The Less said about that automotive mistake the better! Harking back to days gone by I have fond memories also of the Astra GTE and was a big fan of both their rallying an touring car endeavours. I have also driven a large number of Vauxhall and Opel hire cars. In fairness to my earlier comment about the dealers I had a cause to visit my local dealer just over a month ago to take a look at two of their models that interest me as my current motor is up for renewal shortly. My, how things have changed an awful lot for the better!
This is where things get tricky. The Largest Car Manufacturer in the world I believe is Volkwagen. This includes Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda, Seat, Lamborghini, Bentley and Porsche. Now this works because the group build a platform and then other models are built around it. So 1 platform will build cars for all oor some of the brands and maybe involved in more than one car per brand. For example: The A series platform is used for the following cars: Audi A3, Audi Q3, Audi TT, VW Golf, VW Jetta, VW Eos, VW Tiguan, VW Touran, VW Scirocco, SEAT León, SEAT Toledo, SEAT Altea, Škoda Octavia. Yes that’s right one platform for some of the most popular cars certainly in Europe! This where Volkswagen can derive economies of scale and tap in to markets, whre for example on the basis of price one brand may sell more than another. You only have to look at the list above to see how this can work given the number of “family” cars in that list.
This technique is where I can see this merger falling down. I cannot see things that are ripe for sharing between the two manufacturers to make things cost effective. My mind is wondering as to how a new supermini with a shared platform between Opel and PSA might turn out. Remember Opel have had some in my opinion bad history with platform sharing. Readers who are petrol heads of my generation will remember when Opel shoved the Vectra platform underneath Saab motor vehicles. I’m sorry in my opinion with wasn’t Opel’s finest hour either.
So really I am left with some head scratching as to how this all might pan out if the plan for PSA buy Opel comes to pass. I really do not know if it will work out for the best or how it will work. I am still considering Vauxhall for my pending vehicle replacement and they have a good chance of getting the gig at the moment.
I am happy to “park” this here and wait to see what happens.
Though on a final note I do have to say that I do feel for the thousands of Vauxhall workers in this country at the moment who are probably worried and waiting to see what this development holds for them and their jobs. That cannot be fun for them.