Details about the restructuring of Opel under the leadership of the PSA Group, owner of the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands, have leaked ahead of their official announcement.
According to the Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, Opel’s Russelsheim technical centre will become a key research hub for the French-German automaker, and will focus on developing partial or full electrification solutions for all of PSA’s platforms.
As we already knew, models in Opel’s range will be shifted on to PSA platforms as they come up for renewal. Vehicles built on GM’s platforms incur a licensing fee and, it’s believed, cannot be sold outside of Opel’s exisiting sales territories.
The report claims Opel will tap into “new markets”, some of which were formally marked as taboo by its former parent company. Although the newspaper doesn’t name any potential expansion countries, it’s likely PSA is looking to bring Opel to China, a market in which its former sister brand Buick has a very strong presence.
Above: Opel Grandland X already uses a PSA platform.
Turning Opel to break even point by 2019 is a key focus for its new owners. To do this, PSA will need to reign in costs at its new subsidiary, though it will try to avoid further redundancies. Instead, it will institute hiring freezes, and offer partial retirement and buy outs to employees.
Opel will reportedly be forced to trim its model line, and focus on “high margin” segments. One of the early casualties will be the Ampera-e, a rebadged Chevrolet Bolt electric hatch.
Above: Opel Insignia is the brand’s last GM-developed product.
PSA will also make Opel sell its vehicles closer to list price, and curb the German outfit’s practice of registering vehicles under dealer licences and then selling these vehicles off at a heavily discounted price.
While this may have a positive effect, in the medium term, on the brand’s residual values, it could cut sales even further, and harm already poor factory utilisation rates.
The PSA Group’s near-term plans for Opel and Vauxhall is expected to be announced before the end of the month.