General Motors will make its electric-car technology available to PSA Group if a deal to sell GM's Opel/Vauxhall business to the French automaker goes through, a German magazine reported.
GM CEO Mary Barra will allow PSA to use the technology in the new Opel Ampera-e/Chevrolet Bolt long-range battery-powered cars under license in Europe, Manager Magazin said on Friday, citing sources familiar with the GM-PSA discussions.
Earlier this week the magazine said Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann has been working on a strategy to turn Opel into an electric car only brand by 2030. It's possible that PSA will put the plan into practice, the magazine said.
Barra visited Opel's headquarters in Ruesselsheim on Wednesday. She told executives that PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares is keen on continuity at Opel so he will keep Neumann and the brand's management board, Manager Magazin said.
Earlier this week reports said Tavares would assure German politicians and unions that he intends to keep Opel as a German company and maintain the company's current management structure.
Opel declined to comment on the report to Automotive News Europe.
Neumann tweeted on Friday that a PSA-Opel merger makes sense in principle and he was doing everything to create sustainable future for Opel.
Gaining access to GM’s electric-car technology would help PSA. The Ampera-e is able to drive 323 miles on a single charge under European tests. It’s due for release this year, while the Bolt is already on sale in the U.S.
By contrast, PSA's electric vehicles, which are made by Mitsubishi and marketed as the Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero, aren’t gaining much traction. PSA is developing an EV platform with Dongfeng Motors to underpin four electric models to be introduced by 2021 with a driving range of up to 280 miles.
Germany, France talks
Germany's economy ministry said on Friday that the talks between GM and PSA were at an advanced stage. When asked about job guarantees for workers in Germany, a spokeswoman said it was up to management and labor representatives to discuss that.
Labor representatives said they are prepared to hold "constructive" talks with PSA. "The fundamental basis for these talks must be the unequivocal recognition and implementation of existing agreements for all Opel/Vauxhall sites," the German and European works councils and the IG Metall trade union said in a joint statement on Friday.
France said it will evaluate the proposed sale and it is in close daily consultation with the German and British governments. "We are in discussion primarily to share information because we too learned of this announcement in the press," Industry Minister Christophe Sirugue told Reuters on Friday.
Sirugue said ministers would speak daily as they "assess what is at stake for each of our countries."
Government discussions on the proposed tie-up would seek to establish "whether it is an opportunity -- which we don't rule out -- or whether on the other hand it carries risks that we need to evaluate," Sirugue said.
Bloomberg contributed to this report