Former General Motors Europe lynchpin, Opel, looks set to undergo a sweeping overhaul under the ownership of Groupe PSA following the announcement of how the German division is set to fit amongst the group’s existing Peugeot, Citroen, and DS brands.
Groupe PSA acquired GM’s loss-making Opel and Vauxhall brands in March and at the same time released a statement assuring the near-term future for Holden and Buick vehicles sourced from Opel and Vauxhall, stating: "existing supply agreements for Holden and certain Buick models will continue" though no further information was offered at the time,
A media conference hosted by Opel chief executive Michael Lohscheller last week fleshed out the collective’s plans for a Peugeot-centric future.
Under a plan known as “PACE” – for Profitability, Agility, Collaboration and Enablement - PSA will radically revamp the ranges of all five brands.
The company will reduce its number of chassis platforms from nine to two, shrinking the number of powertrain families from 10 to four with the changeover to PSA platform set to be completed by 2024.
The arrangement mirrors the strategy pursued by rivals such as the Volkswagen Group, which uses common platforms and modular engines at the core of many different models. For example, the brand’s MQB platform and turbocharged four-cylinder engines can be found in a wide variety of models ranging from the Volkswagen Golf hatch or Passat sedan to the Audi TT sports car and Skoda Kodiaq seven-seat SUV.
While the GM models will adopt French tech, PSA says all new Opel and Vauxhall vehicles will be engineered in Rüsselsheim, to “guarantee German engineering quality and affordable innovations”.
The German tech centre will also be responsible for research and development work surrounding fuel cell powertrains and other projects including autonomous driving technology.
Lohscheller says “aligning architecture and powertrain families will substantially reduce development and production complexity, thus allowing scale effects and synergies, contributing to overall profitability”.
He said Opel and Vauxhall need drastic changes.
“The situation at Opel Vauxhall is very difficult after many years of losses,” he said. “The status quo is not an option.”
The move to shared platforms will also assist in making former GM factories more flexible, potentially allowing other PSA products to run down the same lines, which may help put a stop to the current underutilisation of those factories without the need to resort to redundancies or closures.
Opel is also looking to expand its footprint with plans to add 20 new export markets by 2022.