PSA Group to acquire GM Europe
PSA Group, the French company which owns Peugeot and Citroen, has made a deal with General Motors to buy its European unit for 2.2 billion euros.
Once it owns GM’s Opel and Vauxhall operations, PSA Group will be the second largest manufacturer in Europe, and the company has stated that it will make the brands profitable again. Carlos Tavares, Chairman of PSA’s Managing Board, said in a statement: “We are confident that the Opel/Vauxhall turnaround will significantly accelerate with our support, while respecting the commitments made by GM to the Opel/Vauxhall employees.”
The industry is now fearing that the deal with involve significant job cuts, especially considering GM Europe has not made a profit since 1999. Christian Stadler, a Professor of Strategic Management at Warwick Business School, researches the automotive industry and offered the following expert comment:
"I would expect job cuts. PSA has done it before and there is no other way to realistically achieve the cost savings they have in mind, which might possibly mean plant closures as well. Whether this is a Vauxhaul/Opel plant or a Peugeot plant is hard to say at the moment.
"The UK is definitely in a bad position as Brexit makes it less competitive than Germany and the unions are stronger in Germany. GM has been losing money in Europe since 2000. Last year they would have made a profit but the devaluation of the pound following Brexit caused another loss.
"GM considered a deal with Magna (backed by Sberbank) in 2009 but pulled back as it considered Opel important for its small car technology. This has changed, though, firstly because small cars don’t sell well in the US at the moment and secondly the joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation in China also facilitates small car technology development.
"GM can now concentrate on the US and Asian markets – which is sensible. While PSA can now become number two in Europe with a 17 percent market share. Scale matters, particularly for mass market producers. It means that PSA can spread its R&D costs over a larger group and this should be helpful considering the substantial shifts the industry is experiencing in such areas as e-vehicles and self-driving cars.
"PSA has a track record of turning around loss-making mass market producers and its margins above 6 percent are impressive for a mass market producer. It expects to make savings of 1.7 billion euros, though it pays to be cautious about such figures as they tend to be too optimistic at deal time.
"PSA, however, has been a successful cost-cutter in the past and, unlike GM, the PSA management has a good sense of how to deal with European unions."
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Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.