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.
With North America taken care of, General Motors is turning its attention to the European market, where the company is struggling with high operating costs with its Opel and Chevrolet brand.
The European vehicle lineup is a bit different when compared to the one in America. Where as its American lineup was outdated and uncompetitive a few years ago, the European products are just fine. The Opel Insignia was 2009’s European Car of the Year and the Astra was third in 2010.
Instead of product failures, it’s the high operating costs and mediocre sales that are hurting the company. On top of that, GM’s increased emphasis on importing cars from Korea has lowered production costs.
GM of Europe has seen its market share in Germany plummet to 8 percent during the first quarter of 2010. On the plus side, an increased demand for Chevrolet in the United Kingdom has seen the company’s European market share climb by 0.6 percent.
During the second quarter, GM did manage to reduce losses, but it was at a terrible cost. There were massive job cuts - around 8,000 people - and the closure of a plant in Belgium. Many believe this, and GM’s overall downturn, has hurt the brand’s image. GM even tried to sell Opel, but they changed their minds.
General Motors is looking to be bringing the Volt to Europe by late 2011. This is earlier than initially reported. GM needs to spread out as much of the high-cost of development and production of the gas/electric hybrid as possible, so multiple outlets are being considered. Opel is working on its own plug-in hybrid vehicles, and the Volt is expected to join that lineup. But once Opel has a strong electric presence, it is rumored that the Volt will be changed to be sold as a Chevrolet.
Chevrolet is not a name necessarily associated with quality in Europe. Most of the Chevy products there are just know for their inexpensive price because offerings are just re-badged Daewoos. The Corvette is sold over there, but not as a Chevy. Instead the sports car is presented as its own brand sold out of Cadillac dealerships. So if the Volt eventually switches to the Chevrolet name, it may give the company a much-needed image boost.
GM Powertrain Europe’s comprehensive Tech Show provides answers about how cars will be propelled in the future. As part of the global GM Powertrain organization, GM Powertrain Europe has global responsibility for small diesel engines, diesel control systems, small gasoline engines and manual transmissions. Its footprint encompasses 15 facilities in 7 European countries, employing 9,000 people and producing on average more than 17,000 engines and transmissions per day.
“The top strategic priority of all development activities is to increase fuel efficiency, reduce the CO2 emissions and emphasize energy diversity“, said Mike Arcamone, Vice President GM Powertrain Europe.
The GM Powertrain Tech Show also illustrates the worldwide network within General Motors. GM Powertrain is the global leader in producing engines and transmissions, with 86 plants and development facilities in 17 countries on all continents. More than 48,000 employees develop and build 33,000 transmissions and 37,000 engines on average every day. Customers include all GM brands as well as a list of other manufacturers.
General Motors will start testing its new "Car-to-X Communication". The tests will be made in
Frankfurt, Germany, under everyday conditions in an extensive project called “Sichere Intelligente Mobilität – Testfeld Deutschland” (Safe Intelligent Mobility – Test Area Germany), which is scheduled to begin later this year.
The "Car-to-X Communication" technology will be tested on Opel’s cars starting the end of 2007 and will last four years. Under the name “DIAMANT” (Dynamic Information and (...)