Peugeot maker PSA finalizes takeover of GM's Opel, Vauxhall



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PARIS (AP) — The maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars finalized its $2.5 billion takeover of General Motors' European brands, Opel and Vauxhall, and named new management on Tuesday to chart an attempted turnaround.

France-based PSA Group — now Europe's No. 2 carmaker — said in a statement that the new executives would present a restructuring plan in 100 days. Opel's chief said it is aiming for a return to profit in 2020 and to reach a 6 percent operating profit margin by 2026, after years of losses.

The carmakers hope to save up to 1.7 billion euros annually thanks to the takeover, notably on purchasing and research and development. Despite pledges to respect existing labor agreements, the deal has raised concerns about job losses down the line.

German deputy economy minister Matthias Machnig welcomed the "clarity" of the new deal but said in a statement: "Now the work on a plan for the restructuring of the European business must start."

"PSA has the responsibility to present a future strategy for the new company," Machnig said. "That includes binding investment pledges, an innovation and product strategy and a reliable division of labor in the new company."

It also includes preserving worker participation in company management and recognizing existing wage deals, he added.

PSA has sought to reassure workers and the German and British governments that Opel will remain a German brand and Vauxhall will remain British.

PSA surpassed Renault to become Europe's second-largest auto manufacturer with the closing of the deal, behind Volkswagen.

A planned acquisition of GM Financial's European operations by BNP Paribas and PSA is still pending final approval, expected later this year.

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Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.

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The Associated Press

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