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PSA-Opel-Vauxhall - If anyone can, Carlos can 
Peter Schmidt | Editor

Published: Fri, 17th November 2017 16:27:18 GMT

Tavares Groupe PSA Opel Vauxhall

The track record of mergers and acquisitions in Europe’s auto industry in general is not one that the industry would choose to boast about. But then again, whether through luck or good judgement, some have a significantly better track record than others. Today’s issue is whether Carlos Tavarez with his proven golden touch will succeed where others have blatantly failed. That’s to turn a chronic loss-maker like Opel-Vauxhall from a long-draining financial burden into a major profit-generating asset. Moreover, and historically almost akin to turning water into wine, that’s for Opel-Vauxhall to release €1.2 billion working capital in just a handful of years from now. 

On one end of the spectrum there are German prestige car makers Mercedes and BMW

Their attempts to enter into and succeed with matrimonial bliss with their respective mergers with Chrysler and Mitsubishi or Rover, ended in tears. 

US Ford fared no better.

 Its initially promising attempts to create a new premium automotive force with core member Lincoln, plus the acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo also ended in tears. 

The same goes for GM attempts to succeed with Saab, or for this matter with Fiat

Each and every one of these mergers or attempts ended in failure. 

To the dismay of their angry shareholders, billions went up in smoke by these ill-fated attempts to enlarge their companies. 

Whether ultimate failure was due wholly or in part to the lack of senior management quality is difficult to say. 

If one school of thought is anything to go by, overconfidence played a large part. 

This is an industry where such boardroom hubris is probably more prevalent than almost anywhere else.

Evidently broad brush, a single failure on the one hand can be passed off as a victim of circumstances. 

A second or third in a row cannot. 

And yet, on the other hand, there is a simply remarkable record of glaring automotive success stories. 

Aside from Tata’s fruitful wedlock with previous ‘black hole’ companies Jaguar Land Rover, in the history book of automotive mergers and acquisitions, French automotive companies stand out as a bunch of winners. 

Those old enough may remember the depth of Nissan's seemingly endless problems prior to the lifeline tossed its way by then Renault chairman and chief executive officer, Louis Schweitzer

With an exemplary track record, one of the auto industry’s true visionaries. 

Fast forward to the present day. 

Previous bed-ridden patient Nissan is fit and well and has turned into a regular major cash generator for its Renault saviour. 

Renault’s Carlos Ghosn, the corporate A&E doctor famously parachuted into Nissan’s headquarters in Japan by Schweitzer, is seen justifiably as an industrial messiah. 

Trying his Midas touch once more, while effectively running the Renault-Nissan Alliance, he has now also taken over the reins at Mitsubishi. 

Call it co-incidence if you like, but Carlos Tavarez, working under Ghosn’s shadow at Renault, has left Renault only to repeat Ghosn’s master stroke. 

Against the odds, that’s the rapid and miraculous financial turnaround of Peugeot-Citroen. 

He is a top-notch graduate of Schweitzer’s success-driven Renault management school with both feet firmly on the ground. 

Also, there is his undeniable attained genius and fanaticism as a genuine turnaround expert. 

So, with newly swallowed Opel-Vauxhall it is not a question of if, but how fast PSA’s acclaimed and success-driven new senior management will succeed where countless others have failed. 

If anyone can, Carlos can. 

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