Auto blogSat, 13 Oct 2012 17:30:00 EST
Let's face it, even when they go well, partnerships rarely go as planned. Almost eight months after General Motors spent $423 million to snag seven percent of Peugeot, we on the outside are still wondering what the plan is. When the tie-up was announced, the main benefits were listed as purchasing power and platform sharing, and only a month after that, a deeper collaboration was discussed that would involve development of a dual-clutch transmission and a small car for Latin America.
We don't know what's come of it other than a potential write-down and Peugeot continuing to take a beating, but Reuters reports that the first phase of the venture is complete and now the two companies are working on more involvement for the second phase. A French newspaper report says one option for advancement would be the two companies becoming 50-50 partners, with GM kicking in more money for the privilege of doing so. Neither side would comment, but according to one Reuters source, the options on the table have also included "selling Opel to Peugeot, buying Peugeot's automotive business or putting them all together in a new entity."
If Peugeot bought Opel or vice versa, that would make sense - but only for the seller, who could wash his hands of the misery. The buyer would then have two poorly performing brands with deep structural problems, huge cash requirements and two national governments chaperoning its moves. We're not sure how the other possibilities mentioned could help Peugeot or Opel out of their quandaries, but we know something has to happen so it's likely we'll hear more soon enough.
Peugeot's naming convention might not be all that exciting, but it does come up with some tantalizing vehicle designs. What we see here is the 2012 Peugeot 2008 Concept, which is going into production next year. The new subcompact crossover will slot below the Peugeot 3008 CUV.
As we saw in the stock photos Peugeot released a couple weeks ago, the biggest difference between the 2088 Concept and the Urban Crossover Concept seen earlier in the year is the stepped roof. This feature will likely maximize interior space for the small utility vehicle, but we still haven't seen any of the concept's interior bits.
The 2008 concept is powered by a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine with direct injection and a turbocharger, and we'd expect to see the same setup under the hood of the production model.
Peugeot's 2013 RCZ coupe - the stylish French answer to the Audi TT - is live and in color on the Paris show floor. Peugeot, in a sign of welcome restraint, hasn't done a lot to alter the overall exterior appearance of the RCZ, a car that looks as ahead-of-its-time today as it did when it came to market three years ago.
Some mild updates to the car's front fascia - a satin-chrome grille, reshaped lower intake and LED running lights - can be pretty easily picked out. The double-bubble carbon fiber roof can now be ordered in a matte or a satin finish, and the sweeping roof rails can be had in black, aluminum and "sand."
Four total engines will be offered for the RCZ coupe, with a 200-horsepower, 202-pound-feet 1.6-liter as the top gasoline-powered mill, and a 163-hp, 250-lb-ft 2.0-liter diesel as the top derv-burner.
Last week, we were able to bring you all of the details regarding Peugeot's new 208 Type R5 rally car, but there was only a shadowy teaser image with which to illustrate the pre-production rally titan.
Thankfully, with our meticulous shooters combing the floor, we now have a good long look at the Peugeot 208 R5, which the French automaker confirms will race next year in series like the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, European Rally Championship and the National Championships.
The 208 R5 is, of course, just as racy as we'd hoped, with a wheels-at-the-absolute-corners stance, huge white shoes wearing hometown Michelin rubber, a sizable rear wing and sporty graphics as far as the eye can see. Don't get used to seeing it in quite so gleaming a shade of white, however, as this one little guy is destined to get dirty, fast.
Peugeot is referring to its Onyx Concept Scooter as a two-in-one supertrike. Seems fitting. Not only can this innovative hybrid three-wheeler hit a top speed of 93 miles per hour, its 400cc engine and electric motor combination offers up 60 horsepower (45 kilowatts) and 42 pound-feet of torque, which should be plenty of gumption for quick getaways from traffic.
Handling ought to be a treat on the Onyx Scooter, with a 200/50 R17 rear tire and dual front wheels like the Piaggio MP3. Plus, there are two so-called driving positions: one, called Sport, that puts the rider in a motorcycle-like feet-back position, and another, Urban, with a more scooter-traditional feet-forward stance.
Naturally, everyone is concerned with fuel economy these days, and the Onyx Concept Scooter delivers with a rating of 117.6 miles per gallon on what we assume is the European combined cycle. Running on electricity alone, the Onyx can travel up to 18.6 miles. Using gas, it has a range of 310 miles. For more details, feel free to click below. For a full image gallery of live shots from the Paris Motor Show, see above.
Say one thing for Peugeot at its home Paris Motor Show this season: the company knows how to run with a theme. Peugeot, some might argue, stole the 2012 show with its Onyx supercar concept; that car has an Onyx Scooter Concept that matches it in livery (if not performance). But, perhaps the most realistic vehicle to wear the matte black and copper attire is this hotted-up RCZ R Concept.
Now, don't let that "Concept" bit on the end of the formal name fool you too much - the company out and out says that the RCZ R will show up as a production model at the end of 2013.
That's great news if you've been considering an RCZ but had hoped for a bit more performance from the fashion-forward coupe. The Peugeot Sport development group plans to fit the production RCZ R with a 260-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, Torsen limited slip differential and revised wheels and suspension. We're guessing that the stealthy black paint and copper roof rails will be for the concept car only - but with the French, you never know...
Though the French automaker is clearly on the top of its game with all of its offerings for the 2012 Paris Motor Show, Peugeot's Onyx concept is its definitive highlight.
A masterpiece in matte black paint, Onyx's most striking features are the two huge swathes of polished copper that adorn both sides. Each side is made from a single piece of copper and, other than extensive polishing, the material is unprotected from the elements. The goal here, says Peugeot, is that the copper panels will change and evolve over time with oxidation.
The lightweight concept car - all of the body panels are made from carbon fiber and the car weighs just 1,100 kilograms (2,425 pounds) - is propelled by an aggressive hybrid powertrain. At the heart of the propulsion is a 3.7-liter V8 that's good for a whopping 600 horsepower, and it's modulated via a six-speed sequential gearbox. The conventional engine is augmented with lithium-ion battery-powered electric system that adds another 80 horses to the mix.
The French government has said that PSA/Peugeot-Citroën must make large job cuts in order to stay financially afloat. A large restructuring would also need to take place as the carmaker deals with the current European economic climate and a production capacity excess.
According to an Automotive News Europe report, the government of France launched an investigation into the "financial health" of PSA, and its results subsequently criticized several decisions the company made, including the shuttering of plants near Paris without leaving failsafe options for production like its Madrid factory.
The result of the study is that the French automaker plans on cutting 8,000 jobs - on top of the 3,500 axed last year. Also planned is the closing of its Aulnay plant near Paris, along with a significantly downsized workforce at its Rennes plant in western France. Last year, PSA's small car plants were running at only 61 percent of maximum capacity.
PSA Peugeot Citroën and the French goverment have been negotiating how to repair the company's business position without ruining the new government's promises to the electorate. At last count, Peugeot wants to send 14,000 workers home for good, close a factory in Aulnay, and trim some of its 25% overcapacity. The automaker desperately wants to sell more cars to help it stop losing €200 million ($246M U.S.) per month. The government has already nixed the most drastic plans, but it needs to keep Peugeot from drowning at the same time as doing so saves jobs, encourages domestic car sales, and balances a nasty state budget. In addition, any maneuver needs to keep the EU's competition watchdog from intervening.
Dow Jones reports that the solution involves increasing cash incentives for EV and hybrid purchases and raising taxes on "high emission vehicles." France already provides a €5,000 subsidy for EVs and €2,000 for hybrids, but those will see a €2,000 bump to €7,000 and €4,000, respectively. The CO2 output or engine displacement that would qualify a vehicle as "high emission" isn't stated. Supplemental and longer-term plans include asking the EU to examine a free-trade agreement with South Korea that France says has resulted in a glut of South Korean cars, and providing €600 million in lifelines to smaller, struggling automaker suppliers.
From our perspective, the measures look like more of the same largely-useless pussyfooting that has kept Europe staring at the economic apocalypse for more than two years. In a New York Times article about Europe's "day of reckoning," Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said, "I've never seen it this bad. All the unresolved issues that have been plaguing the industry for a number of years have all come forward."