PSA/Peugeot-Citroen incoming CEO Philippe Varin (left) and chairman Thierry Peugeot (right)

It's buddy-up time in the European auto industry, and French automaker PSA/Peugeot-Citroen does not want to be left all by itself. With Fiat gobbling up automakers large and small, and General Motors poised to sell off its European assets, the Peugeot family, which owns a controlling interest in parent company PSA, wants to pursue a merger. And towards that end, the family has stated its willingness to dilute its own interest in Europe's second-largest automaker.

Currently, the Peugeot family – headed by the normally reclusive Thierry Peugeot (above, right), chairman of the company's supervisory board – holds 30% of PSA's shares, and controls 45% of its voting rights. The Peugeots would be willing to give up some of its shares, as long as it remained the largest shareholder. The announcement came the day before the company's annual shareholders meeting, at which Philippe Varin (above, left) was presented as PSA's new chief executive to replace the ousted Christian Streiff.

[Source: Automotive News Europe – Sub. Req.]