BMW, PSA take on hybrids?

2012-06-25 10:21

FRANKFURT, Germany - Premium automaker BMW is reconsidering a joint hybrid-vehicles venture with PSA Peugeot Citroen in the light of a deal between Peugeot and global giant General Motors.

BMW said: "The alliance between PSA and GM has changed the joint venture's conditions. Something has to change."


The spokesman said talks between BMW and Peugeot "might result in a change in shareholders" in the venture known as BMW Peugeot Citroen Electrification (BPCE), currently evenly divided between the two automakers.

PSA said: "PSA and BMW are examining the implications of the alliance with GM regarding the BPCE joint venture."

French financial daily La Tribune said on its website that BMW might take a majority stake in the venture, or possibly even become the sole owner.

A BMW spokesman told the Dow Jones Newswires: "We will pursue the business, regardless of the changes at PSA."

General Motors agreed in February 2012 to buy a 7% holding in PSA for about R3.5-billion and the two companies were expected to build a broad alliance to reduce logistics, purchasing and development costs. Meanwhile, PSA and BMW have invested R1-billion in BPCE which, like BMW, is based in Munich, southern Germany, thus expanding on a previous alliance they had set up to develop small petrol engines.


German auto expert Stephan Bratzel said: "BMW was surprised when PSA launched its co-operative arrangement with GM."

He said the German car maker "is worried that know-how developed by the joint venture could fall into the hands of its rival GM."

The vehicle market has become the setting of multiple alliances because automakers must share costs for new technology to meet stricter global emissions standards. In March 2012 BMW agreed to work with Japanese automaker Toyota on the development of lithium-ion battery cells to power cars that would be more environmentally friendly.