Reuters is reporting that PSA Group now wants GM to refund nearly half, or about $700 million of the $1.353 billion it paid to the U.S. Automaker last July for the acquisition of Opel and Vauxhall. The report comes with claims that GM failed to disclose just how badly Opel and Vauxhall would miss hitting emissions targets set by the European Union for 2021 and beyond. PSA, which includes brands like Peugeot and Citroen, says it was misled and is owed this refund as the acquisition of brands that fall so far from 2021 emissions targets will cause it to incur significantly more fines than previously expected. GM claims that it provided “substantial information” and that “PSA undertook a robust due diligence process” that included “their employees, many experts, and lawyers.”
Want to know more? Keep reading to learn about the change to EU emissions rules in 2021 and what kind of fines PSA is looking at over the Opel and Vauxhall Acquisition.
The Emissions Drama Continues; GM Accused Of Installing Defeat Devices
Earlier today, we reported how Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was accused of installing defeat devices in roughly 100,000 diesel vehicles to help circumvent emissions standards, a scheme similar to what Volkswagen did in the infamous dieselgate scandal. Now, it’s looking like General Motors is next in line to feel the heat, as a new lawsuit alleges the automaker cheated on more than 700,000 diesel Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. This latest allegation makes GM the sixth automaker accused of using cheater software since the dieselgate scandal broke in 2015. Affected vehicles include Duramax Diesel Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras between the 2011 and 2016 model years. The lawsuit is currently seeking class-action status, and was filed in U.S. District Count in Detroit in part by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, the same firm involved in the VW dieselgate suit.
The lawsuit against GM alleges the damage created by the cheating GM vehicles could even exceed those of the cheating VW’s, with two to five times the legal limit of harmful emissions produced. GM was quick to respond with a statement, saying “These claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend ourselves. The Duramax Diesel Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra comply with all U.S. EPA and CARB emissions regulations.”
Continue reading for the full story.
The Era of Small Engines in Europe Could be Coming to an End
The war on emissions has been on-going with automakers continuously pressed to lower emissions output from their vehicles year after year. Over in Europe, the strategy to meet stringent emissions regulations has resulted in the downsizing of engines and the addition of turbochargers to make up for the power deficit. As such, the average engine size in Europe is anywhere between 1.3- and 1.9-liters. The shrinking of engines has worked well for emissions tests in Europe up until now, but according to Reuters, new on-the-road emissions testing has shown that smaller engines actually fail to meet the latest standards. This being the case, automakers are being forced to rethink their strategy, and those smaller engines could be on the chopping block.
So how bad is it? Well, real-world testing has shown that most of the smaller engines currently in use – like GM’s 1.2-liter diesel and VW’s 1.4-liter, three-pot diesel – can produce NOx levels up to 15 times the current legal standard when driven at higher loads. Smaller gasoline engines of similar size lose fuel-efficiency and “spew fine particles and carbon monoxide.” Renault’s 0.9-liter H4Bt engine injects excess fuel to prevent overheating, which has been found to produce massive levels of unburned hydrocarbons, fine particles, and CO2. So, what can automakers do to meet the tougher emissions regulations that must be adhered to by 2019?
Automakers have largely remained silent as to what their strategy will be going forward. But, sources have indicated that Volkswagen, Renault, and General Motors are all preparing to upsize some of their best-selling smaller engines while others will be retired altogether. All three have declined to comment on specific plans so far, but Alain Rapos – the Head of Powertrain for Renault-Nissan – said, “The techniques we’ve used to reduce engine capacities will no longer allow us to meet emissions standards. We’re reaching the limits of downsizing.”
Keep Reading for the rest of the story.
A123 has been put through the ringer in recent history, most notably with its massive battery recall, and now it is just about belly up. Things were starting to look up for the battery make when it announced that a $450 million deal had been reached with Wanxiang Group Corp, but that deal recently fell through.
Now the inevitable is upon A123, as news came across the board that A123 had filed for bankruptcy protection, despite having received a $249 million government grant. With this bankruptcy filing also comes the likely liquidation of its assets. It appears as if A123 has already gotten a head start on this liquidation by negotiating to sell off its automotive business to Johnson Controls – well-known for building nearly every lead-acid and gel battery sold.
The deal is not yet done, but it is reportedly for the sum of $125 million and will include the Fisker, GM, and BMW contracts that A123 has already inked. Part of the proposed deal includes Johnson Controls fronting A123 $72.5 million in “debtor possession” funds to keep the bankrupt company running while the sale is being completed. There is no timetable for the completion of the deal, but per the press release, things will continue as usual for A123 during the entire sale process.
All we can hope for is a full turnaround once this technology gets in the hands of Johnson Controls, as the fate of the EV realm rests heavily on the technologies developed by A123. This could possibly be part of the reason that Fisker wasn’t shy about announcing that the upcoming Atlantic was delayed. We’ll also keep an eye on the Chevy Spark EV project to see if that is put on hold until this situation is resolved.
We’ll keep you updated.
Click past the jump to read A123’s press release.
The web tying varying automakers to one another is a very complex, yet delicate thing. One strand heading the wrong direction can cause an automaker to break off another connection, and we see it every day. One prime example was when AMG hacked off its advertising ties with Ducati just because Audi bought the company. Really, what do motorcycles have to do with your competing with Audi in the automobile realm?
Well, we have another bit of info to pass on in regards to one partnership killing another. Recently PSA, the parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, increased its stake in a partnership with GM affiliate, Opel, to develop four vehicle platforms together. This leads BMW to believe that PSA will not have the ability to fulfill its partnership duties in reference to BMW’s developing Hybrid platform.
A BMW spokesperson said “We are discussing conditions for the exit of PSA but we will not make any payments,” in an interview with Reuters. In addition, PSA has accepted the fact that this new relationship with GM will force it to “change the conditions” in its partnership with BMW. This likely means that BMW will buy-out PSAs share of the investment in the project and take development into its own hands.
This will not, however, affect the other relationships that BMW and PSA have going on. The largest of these relationships is the partnership between the two to build the MINI Cooper’s engine.
We’ll keep an eye on what’s going on with this development and let you know if anything else pops up. For now, this seems like a pretty open-and-shut case.
General Motors Announces Collaboration With State Of Colorado To Bring More E85 Ethanol Stations To The State
Colorado E85 Coalition Plans for Forty New E85 Ethanol Stations—Largest One-Time Announcement To-Date
DENVER – General Motors and Governor Bill Ritter’s Colorado E85 Coalition today announced plans for the addition of forty new E85 ethanol fueling locations to be opened throughout the state by the end of 2007. The new fueling locations will be promoted by GM as part of a broader, (...)