General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen executives

General Motors wants to become the second-largest shareholder in PSA Peugeot Citroen, and the gears of a deal for seven percent of the French automaker are beginning to mesh. It cost General Motors $423 million to buy into PSA, and the companies will remain competitors despite lashing their rafts together.

Both automakers would like to net cost savings over the course of the initial 10-year term of the partnership by leveraging their collective purchasing power for better prices from suppliers and also sharing economies of scale. GM and PSA are also looking to create vehicles, powertrains and/or components together within the next four years. The two companies have already started work on developing a low-cost small car to sell in emerging markets, and GM is looking to hook up with Peugeot's Gefco logistics arm, as well.

Peugeot stock has been forced down in value by the company issuing new shares for General Motors to buy, facilitating the deal. Peugeot has also suspended paying a dividend this year to keep cash on hand, further upsetting shareholders and the market in general. Market watchers suspect that any cost savings may be slow in coming, and there's little detail of how GM and PSA intend to address both companies' overcapacity problem in Europe or how they intend to find compromises with the typically strong labor unions there, as well.

Still, the hopeful need only look to Renault-Nissan for an example of the potential upside. Of course, GM's deal with Fiat, which started in 2000 and ended with a $2 Billion payment in 2005, is a reminder of just one of the ways the bloom could fall off this rose.