GM to rely on France's PSA for small car platforms in Europe

Three new cars being developed in Europe will all use French platforms instead of GM designs.

In Europe, General Motors will eschew its global small car platforms in favor of basing new models on French automaker PSA's designs.

Last year, GM and PSA - the maker of Peugeot and Citroen - entered into a joint venture to design and produce subcompact cars and small people carriers primarily aimed at the European market.

The highest-volume model expected to emerge from the two automakers is a subcompact to replace the Opel Corsa and Citroen C3, although subcompact and compact MPV-style people carriers to replace the Peugeot 3008 and Opel Zafira (compact) and Opel Meriva, Citroen C3 Picasso and Peugeot 2008 (subcompact) are also on the drawing board. None of the models the two automakers will build are expected to be sold in the United States, although the Zafira uses GM's Delta II platform, the same underpinnings seen in the Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Cruze.

The move to consolidate platforms is a major cost-saver for the two automakers, but today's announcement that PSA will supply platforms comes as something of a surprise.

GM and PSA's major partnership aims to boost the efforts of both automakers, which are suffering in Europe in light of a struggling market and stiff competition from rivals. Additional joint-venture vehicles are under consideration, GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky told reporters at the announcement yesterday in Brussels. High on the to-do list is an expansion of the brands' collaboration to apply to cars sold in emerging markets like South America and Russia.

GM also again reiterated that it has no plans to sell off its loss-making Opel division.

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