RUESSELSHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - Opel chief Karl-Thomas Neumann ruled out a deal with Fiat (FCHA.MI) but said on Thursday he sees the need to improve volume, scale and utilization in the auto industry and at his own company.
“In principle (Fiat CEO Sergio) Marchionne is right, the auto industry develops the same things 10 times over,” Neumann said, referring to an email Marchionne was reported by the New York Times to have sent to Opel parent General Motors’ (GM.N) Chief Executive Mary Barra in March suggesting combining the two companies.
The need for European carmakers to cut fleet emissions to an average 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer means makers are developing similar engines, costs of which could be cut by sharing efforts between brands.
“It was a big mistake for Opel to search for scale with PSA (PEUP.PA) and not within GM,” Neumann said, referring to decisions by previous Opel managers not to put more emphasis on sharing vehicle platforms within the GM stable of brands before pursuing a broad-based alliance with the French carmaker.
Under Neumann’s leadership, Opel has put greater emphasis on first seeking economies of scale for sharing car platforms within GM, before turning to outside partners like Peugeot, the spokesman said.
The spokesman added Opel is happy with the Peugeot cooperation deal on vehicle architectures.
Separately, Neumann declined to comment on whether Opel would seek to join a consortium led by Mercedes (DAIGn.DE), Audi (NSUG.DE) and BMW (BMWG.DE) bidding for Nokia’s NOK1V.HE high-definition mapping business.
Asked whether Opel was interested in high definition maps, Neumann said “Yes” but added: “It’s not like there is only one source for these maps.”
Part of Opel’s strategy is to use sensors on board its cars to collect data, such as live traffic information, to update high-definition maps, Neumann said.
Editing by Jason Neely and David Holmes