PSA Peugeot Citroen SA (UG), Europe’s second-biggest carmaker, may shift to Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) as a partner at a French commercial-vehicle plant as Fiat SpA withdraws from the venture, a union representative said.
“I know for certain that it will be Toyota,” Ludovic Bouvier, the CGT labor union’s main representative at the plant in Sevelnord, France, said in a phone interview. “It’s been months since we first got indications that it could be that group.” Pierre-Olivier Salmon, a spokesman at Paris-based Peugeot, declined to comment.
“All the carmakers talk to each other all the time,” Jean-Yves Jault, a Brussels-based Toyota Europe spokesman, said by phone. “There’s no specific project going on as far as I know.”
The plant, located near the northern French city of Valenciennes, builds the Scudo commercial van for Turin, Italy- based Fiat SpA. (F) The partnership won’t be renewed when it expires in 2017, Peugeot said in May. The French carmaker is in talks with an Asian manufacturer about jointly building models at Sevelnord, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday, citing an unidentified person close to the discussions.
The future of Sevelnord, which employs about 2,700 people, has been a political issue in France since union representatives met with Industry Minister Eric Besson and Peugeot executives on March 8. Besson said at the time that the French manufacturer was determined not to close the plant and was seeking new partners to continue operating it.
Peugeot is also relocating 223 out of 380 administrative employees from its factory in Saarbruecken, Germany, to Cologne, about 190 kilometers (120 miles) north, where its Citroen brand’s offices for the country are based.
The job shift “is in line with the reorganization of our brands with the perspective of setting up synergies across them,” Cecile Damide, a Peugeot spokeswoman, said by phone today.
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