The partnership General Motors (via Opel) and PSA Peugeot/Citroën began in February has produced more declarations and revisions than easily identifiable positive movement. A deeper collaboration between Opel and Peugeot has been mentioned a few times, perhaps even a sale of one to the other, and a report in October laid out joint plans like a small MPV for Opel/Vauxhall, a small car for both Opel and Citroën and two new platforms for small and midsize cars.
What observers can't glean from the proclamations is how all this can happen with Peugeot in constant, and worsening, financial trouble. The French company just accepted a bailout from the French government, the cash position at its lending arm so bad that the interest rates it had to charge were pricing it out of the car-loan market, and a new report in Reuters says that Peugeot is losing $200 million per month.
That cash-burn rate is better than a few months ago, but the Reuters report explains that the French government loan is "sabotaging" any chance of a closer tie-up between the two companies, said to include the possibility of "a full combination of Peugeot with GM's European unit Opel." That particular option, with a $5-billion buy-in from GM, could have allowed GM to get Opel off its books by making it part of a separate entity. The French government's terms for the loan, however, mean that Peugeot can't shed workers and factories as it would need to in order to make the new entity, and any deeper ties with Opel, viable.
Beyond that, the plan to jointly develop a small car for Peugeot in Brazil has been shelved, Peugeot has left Iran, it's second largest global market, and has given up ties on other technology projects with Ford and BMW. GM has no interest in other Peugeot initiatives like a push into India and rechargeable hybrids. It's said that more cooperation between the two will have to wait for a turnaround in the European market, expected in 2014.