Let's face it, even when they go well, partnerships rarely go as planned. Almost eight months after General Motors spent $423 million to snag seven percent of Peugeot, we on the outside are still wondering what the plan is. When the tie-up was announced, the main benefits were listed as purchasing power and platform sharing, and only a month after that, a deeper collaboration was discussed that would involve development of a dual-clutch transmission and a small car for Latin America.
We don't know what's come of it other than a potential write-down and Peugeot continuing to take a beating, but Reuters reports that the first phase of the venture is complete and now the two companies are working on more involvement for the second phase. A French newspaper report says one option for advancement would be the two companies becoming 50-50 partners, with GM kicking in more money for the privilege of doing so. Neither side would comment, but according to one Reuters source, the options on the table have also included "selling Opel to Peugeot, buying Peugeot's automotive business or putting them all together in a new entity."
If Peugeot bought Opel or vice versa, that would make sense – but only for the seller, who could wash his hands of the misery. The buyer would then have two poorly performing brands with deep structural problems, huge cash requirements and two national governments chaperoning its moves. We're not sure how the other possibilities mentioned could help Peugeot or Opel out of their quandaries, but we know something has to happen so it's likely we'll hear more soon enough.