Opel May Build Next Zafira at a PSA Plant in France, Report Says

The next generation of the Opel Zafira MPV may be built at PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s Sochaux plant in France, according to a report from French business daily Les Echos citing various anonymous sources close to the matter. In exchange, production of the next generation Citroen C3 Picasso MPV (currently made in Trnava, Slovakia) would be transferred to Opel’s Zaragoza plant in Spain, where the Meriva and Corsa are also built. Production of the Opel Mokka crossover will also begin soon in Zaragoza. The Zafira is currently built at Opel’s plant in Bochum, Germany, which is scheduled to shut down by the end of next year. The transfers of production are a consequence of the alliance between GM and PSA Peugeot-Citroen, which includes building models on common platforms. One chapter of the agreement involves building D-segment cars together, but there are a few hurdles here. The most important is that PSA cannot use GM’s mid-sized platform because of opposition from SAIC Motor. SAIC is GM’s partner in China and sees PSA as a rival in its home market. Another obstacle is that PSA cannot integrate GM’s dual-clutch transmission in its models. However, plans for joint-production of a D-segment car will not be abandoned with the next Opel Insignia expected to be underpinned by PSA’s new EM2 platform and built at the French carmaker’s plant in Rennes, France, together with the new Citroen C5. GM bought a 7 percent stake in PSA last year for 320 million euros ($418 million), as part of an alliance that includes joint vehicle development and joint purchasing. By Dan Mihalascu