PSA Group buys Opel, Vauxhall: Other tie-ups and break-ups among EU carmakers | autos | Hindustan Times
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PSA Group buys Opel, Vauxhall: Other tie-ups and break-ups among EU carmakers

France’s PSA, which owns the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands, said Monday that it would buy General Motors’ European subsidiary, which includes Opel and Vauxhall, to create the second-biggest European automaker, behind Volkswagen.

autos Updated: Mar 06, 2017 20:35 IST
Opel cars (L) are transported from Vauxhall's production plant in Ellesmere Port, in Cheshire, north-west England, on Monday. French carmaker PSA announced on March 6 the acquisition of General Motors' European subsidiary, which includes the Opel and Vauxhall brands, for 1.9 billion GBP.
Opel cars (L) are transported from Vauxhall's production plant in Ellesmere Port, in Cheshire, north-west England, on Monday. French carmaker PSA announced on March 6 the acquisition of General Motors' European subsidiary, which includes the Opel and Vauxhall brands, for 1.9 billion GBP. (AFP file photo)

Europe’s auto sector has witnessed two decades of takeovers, alliances and break-ups, the latest being PSA’s purchase of Opel for 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion).

France’s PSA, which owns the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands, said Monday that it would buy General Motors’ European subsidiary, which includes Opel and Vauxhall, to create the second-biggest European automaker, behind Volkswagen.

Here is a look at other major deals, some of which floundered, beginning in the 1990s.

DaimlerChrysler, a flop

In 1998 the German group Daimler-Benz struck a deal to fuse the troubled US automaker Chrysler with its prestigious Mercedes brand. It was presented as a merger of equals, but Daimler invested 36 billion euros in the affair, and ran the show from the start.

The Daimler AG management board L-R CEO Dieter Zetsche, CFO Bodo Uebber and Wolfgang Bernhard of Daimler Trucks & Buses pose behind a Mercedes EQ concept car before the car maker's annual news conference in Stuttgart, Germany in February. (Reuters file photo)

By 2005, the combination had soured; Daimler boss Juergen Schrempp stepped down and his successor, Dieter Zetsche, announced in February 2007 that Daimler would sell most of its shares in Chrysler. It did so three months later, ceding 80.1% to the US investment firm Cerberus Capital Management for 5.5 billion euros.

Renault-Nissan, an enduring alliance

In 1999, French carmaker Renault acquired a 36.8% stake in Nissan, a Japanese group that was close to bankruptcy, and the Romanian brand Dacia.

Renault boss Carlos Ghosn succeeded in pulling the three companies together and became head of all of them in 2005. Dacia blossomed from a derided east European carmaker to a respected low-cost brand that contributes regularly to the parent company’s bottom line.

Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. (Reuters file photo)

A cross-shareholding deal has put 43% of Nissan’s shares in Renault’s hands, while the Japanese group owns 15% of Renault.

In October 2016, Nissan took a controlling stake in Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors, bringing total production for the Renault-Nissan group to nearly 10 million vehicles a year.

Volvo: First to Ford, then Geely

In 1999, when Ford was the most profitable US automaker, it bought Sweden’s storied Volvo brand for $6.45 billion (about 4.64 billion euros at the time).

In this Sept. 15, 2016 picture, Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson presenting the new Volvo V90 Cross Country in Malmo, Sweden. For the first time in 50 years, Volvo was not the most sold car in Sweden, it was Volkswagen Golf, according to the organisation Bil Sweden. (AP file photo)

few year later, however, a combination of Japanese competition and rising oil and steel prices convinced Ford that it was time to look for a new buyer.

In December 2009, it said it would sell Volvo to the Chinese group Geely for $1.8 billion.

Fiat: If at first you don’t succeed...

In the late 1990s the ailing Italian group Fiat, which is controlled by the Agnelli family, went looking for a partner. In 2000 it agreed to hand over 20% of its shares to US giant General Motors in exchange for 6% of GM’s stock, then worth about $2.4 billion.

But Fiat’s situation did not improve, and in February 2005, GM bailed out of the deal, paying $2.0 billion (1.55 billion euros) to cancel a so-called put option that would have required it to buy the rest of Fiat’s equity.

The logos of automobile companies (LtoR) Abarth, Lancia, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Jeep are pictured at the entrance to the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) at the Fiat Mirafiori car plant on January 13, 2017 in Turin, northern Italy. (AFP)

In mid-2009 a fitter Fiat struck a deal approved by US president Barack Obama to rescue Chrysler by start purchasing shares in the US group.

Fiat completed its takeover of Chrysler in January 2014, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) now sells about five million vehicles a year.

In 2016, FCA’s net profit leapt to 1.8 billion euros from 93 million euros in 2015.