Peugeot maker PSA Group vowed to move Opel/Vauxhall models onto its own technology faster than initially planned to improve their emissions performance and secure promised savings from its acquisition of the loss-making German carmaker. Kate King reports.
Keen to get a move on with its restructuring plan, Peugeot maker PSA will shift Opel models to its own technology faster than initially planned. The transition will now take place by 2024 - three years ahead of schedule. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OPEL CEO, MICHAEL LOHSCHELLER, SAYING: "Pace is not just a word.It expresses our new competitive mindset and willingness to focus on the execution of this plan, simply because the situation at Opel/Vauxhall is very difficult after many years of losses." PSA says it became clear Opel wasn't ready to reach tough new EU emissions targets. And the German automaker was also keen to accelerate plans. It's promised to return to profitability by 2020. To do that it needs to reduce costs in all areas including its workforce - where wages and hours will be pruned. But it's pledging to avoid any factory closures or forced layoffs, relying instead on exports including new markets such as Argentina and Saudi Arabia. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OPEL CEO, MICHAEL LOHSCHELLER, SAYING: "Our plan foresees to double overseas sales by 2020 and achieve more than 10 percent of our annual sales volume outside of Europe by the middle of the next decade." PSA bought the loss-making automaker for 2.2 billion euros in March. It hopes German engineering and Peugeot' positioning will be attractive, in an increasingly competitive market. (SOUNDBITE) PANMURE GORDON, CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "Yeah this is all around global competition for the next stage of car manufacturing, because there is some huge balance sheets from the tech firms taking them on at their own game." As part of its reinvention Opel plans to put four electrified cars on the market by 2020 and will use it's Ruesselsheim engineering centre to focus on future technologies like driver-less cars.