Peugeot to Provide Toyota with Light Commercial Vehicle

Agreement will allow both companies to offer a competitive product for the European market.

PSA Peugeot Citroen (IW 1000/43) has reached a deal to provide Toyota (IW 1000/5) with light commercial vehicles for sale in Europe, the two companies said Monday. PSA will provide Toyota with medium-sized vans derived from its existing vehicles and the two companies will then work together on developing a new generation of vehicles.

"Under the plan, Toyota Motor Europe is to participate in the development and industrial investment costs for the next generation product," the statement said. "There are no plans for the two companies to enter into capital tie-ups or joint production."

Cooperation is expected to last "beyond 2020," it added.

No financial details were disclosed.

The deal comes with Peugeot under fire in France after having announced earlier this month plans to cut 8,000 jobs and to close its historic Aulnay plant near Paris because of falling European sales.

The statement also made no mention of where the vehicles would be built but Peugeot was known to be looking for a partner for its Sevelnord plant in northern France after Italy's Fiat pulled out of a joint venture there.

Toyota Motor Europe CEO Didier Leroy said that the deal was "a good solution ... following the recent discontinuation of our own Hiace model."

Jean-Christophe Quemard, PSA vice-president for program, said the agreement will allow both companies to offer "a competitive product for the European market."

Peugeot chief Philippe Varin was to meet Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault later Monday for talks on the company's strategy.

Unions at Sevelnord, which employs 2,800 people, welcomed the news. Jean-François Fabre, a delegate with the FO union, said the agreement was "very important good news."

"With the withdrawal of Fiat and without replacement production, 600 jobs were at stake. The volume that Toyota represents will allow 300-400 jobs to be saved, which is not negligible," Fabre said.

Peugeot's job cuts decision sparked fierce anger among unions, who denounced it as a "declaration of war," and it also came under sustained fire from the government, including President Francois Hollande who said it was "unacceptable."

The government is due to present a program for supporting the auto industry on Wednesday, the same day Peugeot reports its quarterly results.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

TAGS: The Economy
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