November 30, 2017 / 11:07 AM / a year ago

Peugeot to build Aisin gearboxes under licence - sources

PARIS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Peugeot maker PSA Group plans to build Aisin Seiki automatic gearboxes under licence in France after failing to persuade the Toyota-owned supplier to invest in joint production, company sources said.

Paris-based PSA has struck a licensing deal with Aisin that is likely to be announced in December, two people with knowledge of the plan told Reuters.

PSA spokesman Pierre-Olivier Salmon declined to comment on the status or the outcome of talks with Aisin.

“We hold discussions with Aisin and all our suppliers with the aim of sourcing parts as close as possible to the end consumer,” he said. An Aisin spokesman declined to comment.

The decision will support or create French jobs at PSA, the sources said. It is likely to be seized upon politically as a welcome victory for local manufacturing over imports.

PSA currently buys six- and eight-speed Aisin gearboxes made in Japan and China for its Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands. Assembling them itself would lower costs, reduce currency risk and help fill its Metz or Valenciennes transmission plants.

Bringing production in-house also underlines the growing importance of automatic gearboxes in electrified and autonomous motoring, and in improving the fuel-efficiency and carbon emissions of conventional cars.

The French carmaker had hoped its recent acquisition of Opel/Vauxhall from General Motors would help to convince Aisin to invest, as it builds up scale.

But the Japanese supplier was unwilling to share control of Aisin-branded production, a senior PSA source said.

“They said ‘No’ because they want to maintain absolute quality control over production in their name,” the source said, adding that the licensed production would not carry Aisin’s brand.

$1 = 0.8452 euros Reporting by Gilles Guillaume and Laurence Frost; Additional reporting by Naomi Tajitsu in Tokyo; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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