It's easy to see how General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen can save money on shared purchasing of parts, but it is less clear how and when their new-model strategies will come together.
The alliance will help GM slash the number of its global vehicle platforms from 30 in 2010 to 14 in 2018 -- a goal the company set last year. But it will be several years before the partners can align their model offerings.
And it is uncertain how the partnership will affect GM's global small-car development center in South Korea, since small-car expertise -- along with diesel technology -- is a key area of know-how PSA brings to the alliance.
Also, both sides offer hybrid technology. The partners said last month that they will introduce jointly developed "low-emission vehicles" in 2016. But neither has described the vehicles or the segment they will enter.
"We look at sharing common platforms," GM CEO Dan Akerson told Fortune magazine in an interview last week. "We're better in certain segments than they are. They want to move into those segments. They're better in smaller cars and maybe diesels than we are."
The Chevrolet Spark, Opel Corsa and other small GM models developed at GM Korea could share a platform with the next-generation Peugeot 208 and Citroen C3. But both companies are ready to bring out new models in those segments. A redesigned Peugeot 208 goes on sale next month and the redesigned Corsa hits showrooms in 2014 on a platform engineered by GM Korea.
PSA is not expected to replace the 208 before 2018 or 2019, and GM likely won't replace the Corsa before 2019 or 2020.