The news that General Motors has sold its seven per cent stake in PSA Peugeot Citroën should come as no surprise to GM watchers. The American car giant has a history of making and breaking alliances, to the extent that it looks like the auto industry’s worst date.
Back in 2000, General Motors swapped a six per cent stake in itself for a 20 per cent stake in Fiat Auto. In addition, in a remarkable show of negotiating skill, GM allowed Fiat the opportunity to force it to buy the other 80 per cent of Fiat Auto between 2004 and 2009.
With Fiat and GM’s European arm both losing money in 2005, General Motors coughed up a massive £1.1bn to avoid having to buy Fiat Auto.
The five years of alliance didn’t seem to bring any huge advantage, either. A single platform underpinned the Corsa and Punto, the Signum platform was used for the Fiat Croma and GME bought a lot of Fiat diesel engines. Hardly game changing or likely to have saved a huge amount of money.
The GM-Fiat alliance also spawned the ‘Premium Platform’, which was mostly engineered by GM’s Saab division for use by the Swedes and Alfa Romeo. The ending of the alliance put paid to Saab using the Premium platform under the almost-complete Mk2 9-5. Alfa, however, used the premium platform under the 159 and Brera.