Moving a major automaker out from under one group’s umbrella to another doesn’t happen overnight, but five months is pretty darn quick. That’s all the time it’s taken to complete the transfer of Opel from the General Motors to the PSA Group.
In a deal first announced just this past March, GM has sold Opel – which has served as its European division since 1929 – to PSA, the French auto group that already encompasses the Peugeot, Citroën, and DS brands. The addition of the Opel and Vauxhall marques brings the portfolio up to five brands.
“It is a historic day,” said Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller. “We are proud to join Groupe PSA and are now opening a new chapter in our history after 88 years with General Motors. We will continue our path of making technology `made in Germany´ available to everyone.”
Following regulatory approval from the European Union last month, PSA becomes the second largest automaker in Europe (behind Volkswagen), with 17 percent combined market share. Its largest shareholders remain the Peugeot family, the French government, and Chinese automaker Dongfeng, each of which holds 13.68 percent in the company.
The announcement includes four new appointments in Christian Müller (VP engineering), Rémi Girardon (VP manufacturing), Philippe de Rovira (CFO), and Michelle Wen (VP purchasing and supply chain).
“We are witnessing the birth of a true European champion today,” said PSA chairman Carlos Tavares. “Opel will remain German, Vauxhall will remain British. They are the perfect fit to our existing portfolio of French brands Peugeot, Citroën and DS Automobiles.” GM President Dan Ammann called the sale “another bold step” to enable the American giant to “sharply focus our resources on higher-return opportunities as we expand our technical and business leadership in the future of mobility.”
The only part of the equation still up in the air is the transfer of GM’s European Financial arm, which will be jointly acquired by PSA and banking giant BNP Paribas later this year, pending regulatory approval.