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GM and PSA Peugeot Citroen to develop four new vehicle platforms

2013 Vauxhall Astra GTC front three quarter viewBack in February, General Motors and French automotive giant PSA Peugeot Citroen announced a “Global Strategic Alliance” that would benefit both companies, although neither side really explained how. Now, GM and PSA have confirmed that they will jointly develop four new vehicle platforms.

The first new design will serve as both a compact multi-purpose van for GM’s German Opel and British Vauxhall divisions, and a compact crossover for Peugeot. The GM version will replace the current Opel/Vauxhall Combo, itself based on the Fiat Doblo compact commercial van. It will also give Peugeot a much-needed replacement for its 4007, which is a rebadged Mitsubishi Outlander.

The alliance partners will also develop a new small car platform for future Opel, Vauxhall and Citroen models. That means the next generation Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and Citoren C3 will probably be kissing cousins. Peugeot just launched a new 208 in the same size class, so it doesn’t need to take advantage of this platform right now. Since GM is calling this a “multi-purpose vehicle” platform, different variants are also possible.

Moving into even smaller territory, GM and PSA will also develop an “upgraded low CO2 small car segment platform to feed Opel/Vauxhall’s and PSA’s next generation of cars in Europe and other regions.” That car will likely be smaller than the Ford Fiesta-sized Corsa or C3.

GM just launched a new small car, the Opel/Vauxhall Adam, in Europe, so it’s unclear exactly where the new platform will fit into the GM lineup. It may underpin a redesigned Adam down the road, or serve as its replacement.

The final new platform will underpin a midsize model for all four brands. That sets it up to replace the current Opel/Vauxhall Insignia (a.k.a. Buick Regal), Citroen C5, and Peugeot 508.

However, it could also be used for new C-segment cars (think Honda Civic versus Honda Accord); these smaller sedans and hatchbacks are more the norm in Europe than American-style midsize vehicles. That strategy would have the new platform replace the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, Citroen C4, and Peugeot 308.Peugeot 508 HYbrid4

In addition to developing new products, GM and PSA also hope to arrange a joint purchasing deal, which could save both companies $2 billion.

While the main mission of the Global Strategic Alliance is to shore up the disintegrating European car market, it might still have some genuine “global” implications. The Buick Regal shows that models developed by GM’s European division can make the transition to other markets, and that GM is willing to give it a try.

The next generation Regal will likely follow the Insignia onto its new platform. The Astra was also sold in the United States as a Saturn before that brand was killed, so knows what could happen now that GM isn’t facing bankruptcy. If the next Astra looks even half as good as the current one, it would definitely be an asset in showrooms whether they are in Berlin or Dubuque.

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