PSA Group, owners of French car brands Peugeot and Citroen, has confirmed that it is in talks to take over the European brands currently owned by General Motors.
The move would see the French firm take control of GM brands Vauxhall and Opel and mark a complete withdrawal from Europe by the US automotive giants, who announced a $257m (£206m) pre-tax loss from its European operations in 2016.
If successful, the takeover bid would see PSA group become the second largest European car manufacturer behind Volkswagen, with around 16 per cent of the European new car market.
Since 2012, GM and PSA Group have worked closely on projects in Europe. PSA Group issued a statement yesterday afternoon about the potential acquisition: “General Motors and PSA Group regularly examine additional expansion and cooperation possibilities… PSA Group confirms that, together with General Motors, it is exploring numerous strategic initiatives aiming at improving its profitability and operational efficiency, including a potential acquisition of Opel / Vauxhall.
“There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached.”
Vauxhall currently employs 35,000 people in the UK, including more than 4,000 at the factories in Luton and Ellesmere Port, which build the Vivaro van and Astra family car respectively.
Opel, meanwhile, employs around 34,500 in Europe, with roughly half of those based in Germany.
The two brands have been linked since the 1970s, with Vauxhalls sold under the Opel name in mainland Europe.
PSA Group is part-owned by Chinese manufacturer Dongfeng and the French government.