How strong will PSA be with Opel?
The French group PSA has acquired the GM subsidiary Opel for 1.3 billion euros, making it Europe's second biggest carmaker after Volkswagen. The move will give the company access to new markets, some commentators write in delight. Others fear massive job cuts at Opel.
PSA has become a European giant
By purchasing the German carmaker PSA is continuing on its triumphant path, La Tribune writes in praise:
“The purchase of Opel answers the need for a solid local basis for production and sales. The French market alone is clearly insufficient. PSA lacked a European dimension, which has now become reality. The former GM subsidiary will allow the French group to establish itself in Germany - a market that is indispensable for its development and where its market share remains marginal at just three percent. Now a European giant, PSA will be able to develop its ambitions both quantitatively and qualitatively. ... [CEO] Carlos Tavares has been able to transform a business that was once on the verge of being sold into a profit machine that is hungry for acquisitions.”
Takeover could ensure Opel's long-term survival
The strict terms of the new owner PSA could help secure Opel's future, the Financial Times hopes:
“Yet despite the disquiet felt in Germany and the UK at PSA’s purchase of Opel, both countries need to accept the logic of consolidation in a sector where politicians have too often intervened to protect jobs at the expense of long-term competitiveness. ... Despite the political sensitivity, in the run-up to Germany’s elections and the UK’s Brexit negotiations, this deal should be welcomed. The future of the European car industry cannot lie in making too many nondescript vehicles that do not sell. At present, Opel is a marginal producer. Mr Tavares will at least attempt the turnround needed to ensure its long-term survival.”
Carmaker facing a tough restructuring
Peugeot can only make a success of the Opel takeover if it cuts jobs, Zeit Online predicts:
“The bottom line is that Peugeot won't get much out of the purchase. Because Peugeot, Citroën and Opel all build similar cars, mainly middle class cars, and target similar buyer segments. These brands don't complement each other and the best the company can hope for is some synergies. Which in the end boils down to profiting from economies of scale and getting rid of double structures - in other words axing jobs. In production and above all in administration, because many central functions like sales and marketing don't have to be based in Paris and Rüsselsheim. The same could apply for research and development. PSA boss Carlos Tavares already has experience with job cuts: this is how he got the French company back on track. It would be naive to believe that Opel won't face a similarly drastic restructuring programme.”
Bad news for Poland
PSA's taking over Opel doesn't bode well for Poland, Rzeczpospolita fears:
“This American-French transaction is of major importance for Poland's economy - especially at a time when Europe is in such turmoil. There are three Opel factories operating in Silesia, with 4,000 employees. Then there are several smaller companies and their employees that supply these factories. What will happen to them now? … Everything is likely to become more complicated because Poland's foreign policy has been confrontational in recent times. The poor Polish-French relations are particularly problematic. The plans for military cooperation also came to nothing.”