Peugeot and Citroen in 'final stages' of deal to buy Vauxhall

Peugeot and Citroen in 'final stages' of deal to buy Vauxhall

In a bid to contain the outrage, General Motors (GM) chief executive Mary Barra travelled to Germany to answer questions about the deal on Wednesday.

Combining PSA Group with Opel and its British brand Vauxhall would create the second-largest carmaker by market share in Europe, with 16.6 percent of sales according to 2016 figures.

Industry insiders contacted by Autocar suggest PSA's Chinese partner Dongfeng could play a decisive role, including the provision of financial assistance in the possible purchase of Opel/Vauxhall. Germany's industrial union IG Metall immediately fired a warning shot saying that if the companies were discussing the sale of Opel without the union's involvement that would be an "an unprecedented breach of all German and European co-determination rights".

General Motors (GM) shares jumped in premarket trading Tuesday after Peugeot's parent, PSA Group, said it was in talks with the US automaker to buy its Opel division. In a life-saving measure, the Peugeot family was forced to sell 25.6 per cent of its stake in the French auto maker, with 12.8 per cent going to the French government and a further 12.8 per cent to Peugeot's Chinese joint venture partner Dongfeng.

Shares in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles rose 3.9% as investors speculated that one consolidation play could lead to another.

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GM has been particularly active in recent years in seeking a broad-based co-operation with Peugeot in a bid to cut costs and improve profitability at Opel and Vauxhall.

Last week, GM announced fourth-quarter earnings above Wall Street views and reiterated a strong full year earnings outlook.

However, global demand for diesel is in decline and therefore GM should be set to benefit from a potential split with Europe, Evercore ISI analysts said in a note.

Selling Opel and Vauxhall, which added nearly one million cars to its sales, could mean abandoning the global volume race in which it is ranked third behind Volkswagen and Toyota, with just over 10 million vehicles delivered past year.

GM restructured its European operations over the past six years, shutting Opel factories in Belgium and Germany and withdrawing the Saab and Chevrolet brands from sale.