GENEVA -- General Motors and its new alliance partner, PSA Peugeot Citroen, appear to be gazing in different directions, judging from comments here last week.
PSA clearly sees the alliance as a global partnership, giving it the clout of GM's more than 9 million units a year. But GM is interested mainly in reversing the losses at Opel, its German subsidiary.
It's clear that GM is looking primarily for help in Europe. And PSA, like other European automakers battling high costs and overcapacity, is looking to increase sales sharply outside Europe.
Launching an alliance when the parties aren't on the same page could be a problem, and GM has a history of partnerships that did not pan out. But it may be no more than early-days confusion amid the hurly-burly of an auto show -- after all, GM CEO Dan Akerson earlier said: "This is a global alliance that's emerging."
But in conversations, GM officials emphasized the benefits for the company's loss-making German subsidiary, Adam Opel AG. The alliance's joint purchasing and platform development could help stem Opel's red ink, they said. GM's top European executive said joint purchasing will be "a big lever, specifically in Europe."
Meanwhile, at a press event, Philippe Varin, chairman of PSA, took a broader view. Asked if the alliance was with Opel or GM, Varin replied: "It's very clear. It's an alliance between PSA and GM -- global."
That fits with a PSA goal of having two-thirds of the company's sales outside Europe by 2020, he said. In 2012, 42 percent of sales were outside Europe, up from 39 percent in 2010.
Varin emphasized that the two companies have a combined purchasing expenditure of $125 billion annually, from which they hope within five years to save $2 billion annually.
"The organization for purchasing will be global, and there will be a joint venture that will have a group of lead buyers globally on the world business," he said.
That will include North American decisions, he added, saying that that volume will help to achieve scale economies.
Although much of the discussion with GM executives in Geneva focused on how the PSA tie-up will help GM in Europe, in earlier public comments, GM and Peugeot officials made plain the global aspirations of their alliance.
Some of the jointly developed platforms will be sold globally, officials have said.
Last week Varin said the first vehicles on a jointly produced platform will be on the market in 2016, although he would not give specifics.
Vice Chairman Steve Girsky has pointed out that GM, despite having one of the world's largest purchasing budgets, could use PSA's European buying leverage. And he has said Opel leaders will play a central role in the governance structure of the alliance.