PSA Group is demanding a refund from General Motors of between $711 million and $948 million stemming from the purchase of Opel by PSA. PSA is claiming that GM misrepresented Opel's emissions reduction strategy during the due diligence negotiations.
EU Emissions regulations for 2021 set a target reduction of 130 g/km to 95 g/km. Regulators can fine manufacturers $113 per vehicle per gram over the limit. Any vehicle at the 130 g/km limit today would see fines of $3,955 per car sold.
PSA claims that GM's plan for reaching that target relied on unrealistically high sales of the Opel Ampera-E, the European model of the US built Chevrolet Bolt EV, and extra rosy forecasts of diesel sales. Opel loses $11,850 per Ampera-E sold. PSA has already cut sales of the Ampera-E in Norway and raised its price at least $6,700 for the rest of Europe. Adding to the trouble are falling diesel sales in Europe as consumers move to less efficient gasoline engines.
Even during the sale negotiations, PSA was was aware that GM was forecasting Opel to miss the 95 g/km target by 3.7 grams. Take the Ampera-E forecast of 20,000 vehicles out out of the picture and that number jumps to 6 g/km. Adjusting for falling diesel sales and Opel will miss its target by 10 grams. Such a large miss could result in fines approaching the entire purchase price of Opel ($1.54 billion).
PSA is now speeding into production electric or plug-in hybrid variants of Opel's mainstay cars, with the entire lineup being converted to PSA platform architecture by 2024.
PSA must now go through GM lawyers and arbitration to determine if they will get any refund from GM.