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    Vauxhall Pulls The Covers Off The Insignia Country Tourer



    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    July 3, 2013

    Ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, Vauxhall has revealed the new Insignia Country Tourer.

    The Insignia Country Tourer borrows the same recipe used by Subaru and Audi that takes a wagon and raises the ride height, adds an all-wheel drive system, and gives the exterior a more butch appearance.

    The Insignia Country Tourer starts with a fair amount of body cladding and increased ground clearance of 0.79 inches. Under the skin is a new all-wheel-drive that utilizes a Haldex clutch and an electronic limited slip differential to maintain grip.

    There are two diesel engines available,

    • 2.0L CDTi: 163 horsepower and 280 pound-feet
    • 2.0L BiTurbo CDTi: 192 horsepower and 295 pound-feet.

    The 2.0L CDTI is available with a six-speed manual or automatic, while the BiTurbo is only available with an automatic.

    Now don't expect the Insignia Country Tourer to make the Atlantic crossing to the U.S. However if I was betting man, I think General Motors could make a better case with this than the Insignia Tourer as a Buick for the states.

    Source: Vauxhall

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    Press Release is on Page 2


    VAUXHALL’S NEW COUNTRY ESTATE MOVES INSIGNIA UPMARKET

    2013-07-03

    • Top-of-the-range Sports Tourer with SUV characteristics
    • Higher ground clearance and distinct protective body elements
    • Advanced all-wheel drive with variable torque delivery
    • Two powerful turbo-diesel engines with up to 400Nm torque

    Luton – Vauxhall is set to add a rugged SUV-inspired all-purpose estate to its New Insignia range later this year.

    Known as the Insignia Country Tourer, and based on the Sports Tourer model, but with all-wheel drive, higher ground clearance and tougher styling, the new car will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

    DESIGN

    With its signature griffin grille, now wider and deeper, the front styling is distinctively Vauxhall. The grille’s horizontal chrome bar carries the central brand emblem and is sculpted in a wing form, with its outer tips turned upwards alongside the headlamps. A protective panel, in a gleaming silver finish, sweeps out from under the engine compartment; a prominent design theme echoed at the rear.

    Another feature is the anthracite-coloured protective cladding on the side sills and lower body sections, which gives the wheel-arches a more pronounced, flared look.

    A final visual flourish is provided by distinctive front and rear light units. The headlamps, with embedded chrome accents, incorporate wing-style LED daytime running lights. This theme is repeated at the rear, with LED brake and taillights.

    POWERTRAINS

    State-of-the-art all-wheel drive is combined with two powerful turbo-diesel engines: a 2.0-litre BiTurbo CDTi, producing 195PS and 400Nm of torque, and a 2.0-litre CDTi with 165PS and up to 380Nm torque available. A choice of six-speed manual or a low-friction, six-speed automatic transmission is available on the 2.0-litre (165PS) diesel engine. The 2.0-litre (195PS) BiTurbo diesel engine is available in automatic only.

    DRIVETRAIN

    The electronically controlled 4x4 drivetrain incorporates a high-quality clutch, operating on Haldex principles, and an electronic limited-slip differential to ensure superb traction on both paved and unpaved surfaces. It constantly adapts to the prevailing road conditions, and can vary torque distribution seamlessly between the front and rear axles, as well as between the rear wheels, even before a wheel begins to slip.

    When necessary, the clutch controlling drive distribution immediately sends more torque to the rear axle. The 4x4 system’s sensors constantly feed individual control modules with information on yaw rate, acceleration, steering angle, wheel speed, throttle pedal position, engine speed and torque. The front/rear power distribution is constantly adapted to the driving situation based on this information.

    Ultimate stability and higher dynamics are ensured by the electronically-controlled rear-axle Limited Slip Differential (eLSD). The eLSD controls the distribution of torque between the rear wheels, transferring drive torque to the wheel that has the most grip. While offering better traction in slippery conditions, the sophisticated operation of this adaptive 4x4 drive system guarantees the highest levels of driver control and active safety in all situations. The Insignia Country Tourer can even provide propulsion when three wheels are on loose or slippery ground and only one rear wheel has traction.

    The adaptive all-wheel system also supports drivers in non-critical situations. To reduce frictional losses and save fuel, the system automatically reverts to front-wheel drive whenever it senses that no adaptive interventions are required.

    Off road, the new Insignia Country Tourer also benefits from larger tyres and a raised ride height, in addition to its four-wheel drive traction. Ground clearance is 20mm higher than on a standard model, a major advantage when encountering loose, uneven terrain.

    “The Insignia Country Tourer is perfect for a winter holiday, on snowy roads, or simply when the going gets tough,” said Stuart Harris, Vauxhall’s Head of Carline Brand. “Even on urban roads its robust looks give it strong stand-out appeal.”

    Prices and full equipment details will coincide with the vehicle’s world premiere on the 10th September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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    Just a poor execution of a Station wagon on steroids. Reminds me of Eagle in some ways but nothing that would interest Americans.

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    I've advocated for more of these. But now that I've seen it, it seems 20 years late. Outback was first. I think Volvo Cross Country was next, then All-Road IIRC...

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    • By William Maley
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      Source: Bloomberg, Reuters, Automotive News (Subscription Required), General Motors, PSA Group
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Opel/Vauxhall to join PSA Group
      Establishes PSA Group as #2 in Europe. This strong and balanced presence in its home markets will serve as the basis of profitable growth worldwide Joint venture in auto financing with BNP Paribas to support development of Opel/Vauxhall brands €2.2 Bn transaction advances GM’s transformation and unlocks shareholder value through disciplined capital allocation Detroit and Paris – General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) and PSA Group (Paris:UG) today announced an agreement under which GM’s Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary and GM Financial’s European operations will join the PSA Group in a transaction valuing these activities at €1.3 Bn and €0.9 Bn, respectively.
      With the addition of Opel/Vauxhall, which generated revenue of €17.7 Bn in 20161, PSA will become the second-largest automotive company in Europe, with a 17% market share2.
      Creates sound European foundation for PSA to support its worldwide profitable growth
      “We are proud to join forces with Opel/Vauxhall and are deeply committed to continuing to develop this great company and accelerating its turnaround,” said Carlos Tavares, chairman of the Managing Board of PSA. “We respect all that Opel/Vauxhall’s talented people have achieved as well as the company’s fine brands and strong heritage. We intend to manage PSA and Opel/Vauxhall capitalizing on their respective brand identities. Having already created together winning products for the European market, we know that Opel/Vauxhall is the right partner. We see this as a natural extension of our relationship and are eager to take it to the next level.”
      “We are confident that the Opel/Vauxhall turnaround will significantly accelerate with our support, while respecting the commitments made by GM to the Opel/Vauxhall employees,” continued Mr. Tavares.
      Advances GM’s Transformation and Unlocks Value
      “We are very pleased that together, GM, our valued colleagues at Opel/Vauxhall and PSA have created a new opportunity to enhance the long-term performance of our respective companies by building on the success of our prior alliance”, said Mary T. Barra, GM chairman and chief executive officer.
      “For GM, this represents another major step in the ongoing work that is driving our improved performance and accelerating our momentum. We are reshaping our company and delivering consistent, record results for our owners through disciplined capital allocation to our higher-return investments in our core automotive business and in new technologies that are enabling us to lead the future of personal mobility.
      “We believe this new chapter puts Opel and Vauxhall in an even stronger position for the long term and we look forward to our participation in the future success and strong value-creation potential of PSA through our economic interest and continued collaboration on current and exciting new projects,” Ms. Barra concluded.
      Strengthens Each Company for the Long Term
      The transaction will allow substantial economies of scale and synergies in purchasing, manufacturing and R&D. Annual synergies of €1.7 Bn are expected by 2026 – of which a significant part is expected to be delivered by 2020, accelerating Opel/Vauxhall’s turnaround. Leveraging the successful partnership with GM, PSA expects Opel/Vauxhall to reach a recurring operating margin3 of 2% by 2020 and 6% by 2026, and to generate a positive operational free cash flow4 by 2020.
      PSA, together with BNP Paribas, will also acquire all of GM Financial’s European operations through a newly formed 50%/50% joint venture that will retain GM Financial’s current European platform and team. This joint venture will be fully consolidated by BNP Paribas and accounted under the equity method by PSA.
      The transaction is another step in GM’s ongoing work to transform the company, which has delivered three years of record performance and a strong 2017 outlook, and returned significant capital to shareholders. It will strengthen GM’s core business, support its continued deployment of resources to higher-return opportunities including in advanced technologies driving the future, and unlock significant value for shareholders.
      By immediately improving EBIT-adjusted, EBIT-adjusted margins and adjusted automotive free cash flow and de-risking the balance sheet, the transaction will enable GM to lower the cash balance requirement under its capital allocation framework by $2 Bn, which it intends to use to accelerate share repurchases, subject to market conditions.
      GM will also participate in the future success of the combined entity through its ownership of warrants to purchase shares of PSA. GM and PSA also expect to collaborate in the further deployment of electrification technologies and existing supply agreements for Holden and certain Buick models will continue, and PSA may potentially source long-term supply of fuel cell systems from the GM/Honda joint venture.
      Additional Information
      Terms of the Agreement
      Opel/Vauxhall automotive operations will be acquired by PSA for €1.3 Bn. GM Financial’s European operations will be jointly acquired by PSA and BNP Paribas for 0.8 times their pro forma book value at the closing of the transaction, or approximately €0.9 Bn.
      The transaction has a total value of €2.2 Bn, for Opel/Vauxhall automotive operations and 100% of GM Financial’s European operations.
      The transaction value for PSA, including Opel/Vauxhall and 50% of GM Financial’s European operations, will be €1.8 Bn.
      In connection with this transaction, GM or its affiliates will subscribe warrants for €0.65 Bn. These warrants have a nine-year maturity and are exercisable at any time in whole or in part commencing 5 years after the issue date, with a strike price of €1. Based on a reference price of €17.34 for the PSA share5 , the warrants correspond to 39.7 MM shares of PSA, or 4.2% of its fully diluted share capital6. GM will not have governance or voting rights with respect to PSA and has agreed to sell the PSA shares received upon exercise of the warrants within 35 days after exercise.
      The transaction includes all of Opel/Vauxhall’s automotive operations, comprising Opel and Vauxhall brands, six assembly and five component-manufacturing facilities, one engineering center (Rüsselsheim) and approximately 40,000 employees. GM will retain the engineering center in Torino, Italy.
      Opel/Vauxhall will also continue to benefit from intellectual property licenses from GM until its vehicles progressively convert to PSA platforms over the coming years.
      In connection with the transaction, GM will take a primarily non-cash special charge of $4.0-4.5 Bn.
      Ongoing Pension Fund Commitments
      All of Opel/Vauxhall’s European and U.K. pension plans, funded and unfunded, with the exception of the German Actives Plan and selected smaller plans will remain with GM. The obligations with respect to the German Actives Plan and these smaller plans of Opel/Vauxhall will be transferred to PSA. GM will pay PSA €3.0 Bn for full settlement of transferred pension obligations.
      Closing Conditions
      The transaction is subject to various closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and reorganizations, and is expected to close before the end of 2017.
      Warrants
      The issuance of the warrants is subject to the vote of shareholders at PSA’s General Meeting of May 10th, 2017. The three main shareholders of PSA (the French State, the Peugeot family and DongFeng) representing in aggregate 36.6% of the share capital and 51.5%7 of the voting rights of PSA have undertaken to vote in favor of the resolution related to the issuance of the warrants to GM. In the event the warrant issuance reserved to GM and its affiliates is not approved by PSA’s General Meeting, PSA will settle the €0.65 Bn in cash over five years.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It is now official. This morning, PSA Group has agreed to buy Opel and Vauxhall from General Motors for 2.2 billion euros (about $2.3 billion). The deal is comprised of a 1.8 billion euros ($1.9 billion) payment for Opel and Vauxhall, along with a stake in Opel's financing arm. This makes PSA Group the second-largest automaker in Europe.
      “It gives us the opportunity to become a real European champion. Our plan is to build a common future for Opel and Vauxhall and fix the existing issues,” said PSA Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares.
      Those existing issues include Opel and Vauxhall never breaking even for GM. Over the past two decades, Opel and Vauxhall have lost almost $20 billion. In 2016, the division was projected to break even, but the complications of Great Britain leaving the EU meant they posted a loss of $257 million.
      "The way I look at this is positioning Opel-Vauxhall to be incredibly successful in the future," said GM CEO Mary Barra when asked by a reporter if she was relieved about the sale of Opel and Vauxhall. 
      "General Motors doesn't have to be relieved. They can be proud of giving Opel-Vauxhall a better future," said Tavares.
      PSA Group is aiming to make Opel and Vauxhall profitable once again, with operating profit targets of 2 percent in 2020 and 6 percent by 2026. These targets will be reached by joint cost savings of 1.7 billion euros (about $1.8 billion) by spreading the costs of developing new vehicles and sharing purchasing costs.
      General Motors won't be fully cutting its ties with Opel and Vauxhall for the time being. GM has allowed PSA Group to license technology rights to keep selling current models (including the upcoming Insignia) until they transition onto PSA platforms. According to Reuters, the next-generation Opel/Vauxhall Corsa will be the first PSA developed model. GM will also collaborate with PSA on various projects such as hydrogen fuel cells. Finally, GM will pay PSA 3 billion euros ($3.18 billion) to settle transferred pension obligations.
      But there are still a number of unanswered questions with this deal. The big one deals with job cuts and plant closures. With this deal, PSA group will add roughly 38,000 workers and 10 production facilities. Some analysts believe that PSA Group will close two to three plants within the next five years, with the possibility of those closures taking place in Great Britain due to Brexit. Taveres has said that the automaker would honor existing labor agreements and closing plants is a “simplistic” solution.
      “We don’t need to shut down plants,” said Tavares.
      Second is what will happen for Buick and Holden when models they share with Opel transition to PSA platforms. Both Buick and Holden will be getting the next-generation Insignia as the Regal and Commodore. Buick also gets the Opel Mokka to sell as the Encore, while Holden sells the Astra compact.
      Finally, there is the question about PSA Group's plans to re-enter the U.S. How does the purchase of Opel and Vauxhall affect their plans?
      Source: Bloomberg, Reuters, Automotive News (Subscription Required), General Motors, PSA Group
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Opel/Vauxhall to join PSA Group
      Establishes PSA Group as #2 in Europe. This strong and balanced presence in its home markets will serve as the basis of profitable growth worldwide Joint venture in auto financing with BNP Paribas to support development of Opel/Vauxhall brands €2.2 Bn transaction advances GM’s transformation and unlocks shareholder value through disciplined capital allocation Detroit and Paris – General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) and PSA Group (Paris:UG) today announced an agreement under which GM’s Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary and GM Financial’s European operations will join the PSA Group in a transaction valuing these activities at €1.3 Bn and €0.9 Bn, respectively.
      With the addition of Opel/Vauxhall, which generated revenue of €17.7 Bn in 20161, PSA will become the second-largest automotive company in Europe, with a 17% market share2.
      Creates sound European foundation for PSA to support its worldwide profitable growth
      “We are proud to join forces with Opel/Vauxhall and are deeply committed to continuing to develop this great company and accelerating its turnaround,” said Carlos Tavares, chairman of the Managing Board of PSA. “We respect all that Opel/Vauxhall’s talented people have achieved as well as the company’s fine brands and strong heritage. We intend to manage PSA and Opel/Vauxhall capitalizing on their respective brand identities. Having already created together winning products for the European market, we know that Opel/Vauxhall is the right partner. We see this as a natural extension of our relationship and are eager to take it to the next level.”
      “We are confident that the Opel/Vauxhall turnaround will significantly accelerate with our support, while respecting the commitments made by GM to the Opel/Vauxhall employees,” continued Mr. Tavares.
      Advances GM’s Transformation and Unlocks Value
      “We are very pleased that together, GM, our valued colleagues at Opel/Vauxhall and PSA have created a new opportunity to enhance the long-term performance of our respective companies by building on the success of our prior alliance”, said Mary T. Barra, GM chairman and chief executive officer.
      “For GM, this represents another major step in the ongoing work that is driving our improved performance and accelerating our momentum. We are reshaping our company and delivering consistent, record results for our owners through disciplined capital allocation to our higher-return investments in our core automotive business and in new technologies that are enabling us to lead the future of personal mobility.
      “We believe this new chapter puts Opel and Vauxhall in an even stronger position for the long term and we look forward to our participation in the future success and strong value-creation potential of PSA through our economic interest and continued collaboration on current and exciting new projects,” Ms. Barra concluded.
      Strengthens Each Company for the Long Term
      The transaction will allow substantial economies of scale and synergies in purchasing, manufacturing and R&D. Annual synergies of €1.7 Bn are expected by 2026 – of which a significant part is expected to be delivered by 2020, accelerating Opel/Vauxhall’s turnaround. Leveraging the successful partnership with GM, PSA expects Opel/Vauxhall to reach a recurring operating margin3 of 2% by 2020 and 6% by 2026, and to generate a positive operational free cash flow4 by 2020.
      PSA, together with BNP Paribas, will also acquire all of GM Financial’s European operations through a newly formed 50%/50% joint venture that will retain GM Financial’s current European platform and team. This joint venture will be fully consolidated by BNP Paribas and accounted under the equity method by PSA.
      The transaction is another step in GM’s ongoing work to transform the company, which has delivered three years of record performance and a strong 2017 outlook, and returned significant capital to shareholders. It will strengthen GM’s core business, support its continued deployment of resources to higher-return opportunities including in advanced technologies driving the future, and unlock significant value for shareholders.
      By immediately improving EBIT-adjusted, EBIT-adjusted margins and adjusted automotive free cash flow and de-risking the balance sheet, the transaction will enable GM to lower the cash balance requirement under its capital allocation framework by $2 Bn, which it intends to use to accelerate share repurchases, subject to market conditions.
      GM will also participate in the future success of the combined entity through its ownership of warrants to purchase shares of PSA. GM and PSA also expect to collaborate in the further deployment of electrification technologies and existing supply agreements for Holden and certain Buick models will continue, and PSA may potentially source long-term supply of fuel cell systems from the GM/Honda joint venture.
      Additional Information
      Terms of the Agreement
      Opel/Vauxhall automotive operations will be acquired by PSA for €1.3 Bn. GM Financial’s European operations will be jointly acquired by PSA and BNP Paribas for 0.8 times their pro forma book value at the closing of the transaction, or approximately €0.9 Bn.
      The transaction has a total value of €2.2 Bn, for Opel/Vauxhall automotive operations and 100% of GM Financial’s European operations.
      The transaction value for PSA, including Opel/Vauxhall and 50% of GM Financial’s European operations, will be €1.8 Bn.
      In connection with this transaction, GM or its affiliates will subscribe warrants for €0.65 Bn. These warrants have a nine-year maturity and are exercisable at any time in whole or in part commencing 5 years after the issue date, with a strike price of €1. Based on a reference price of €17.34 for the PSA share5 , the warrants correspond to 39.7 MM shares of PSA, or 4.2% of its fully diluted share capital6. GM will not have governance or voting rights with respect to PSA and has agreed to sell the PSA shares received upon exercise of the warrants within 35 days after exercise.
      The transaction includes all of Opel/Vauxhall’s automotive operations, comprising Opel and Vauxhall brands, six assembly and five component-manufacturing facilities, one engineering center (Rüsselsheim) and approximately 40,000 employees. GM will retain the engineering center in Torino, Italy.
      Opel/Vauxhall will also continue to benefit from intellectual property licenses from GM until its vehicles progressively convert to PSA platforms over the coming years.
      In connection with the transaction, GM will take a primarily non-cash special charge of $4.0-4.5 Bn.
      Ongoing Pension Fund Commitments
      All of Opel/Vauxhall’s European and U.K. pension plans, funded and unfunded, with the exception of the German Actives Plan and selected smaller plans will remain with GM. The obligations with respect to the German Actives Plan and these smaller plans of Opel/Vauxhall will be transferred to PSA. GM will pay PSA €3.0 Bn for full settlement of transferred pension obligations.
      Closing Conditions
      The transaction is subject to various closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and reorganizations, and is expected to close before the end of 2017.
      Warrants
      The issuance of the warrants is subject to the vote of shareholders at PSA’s General Meeting of May 10th, 2017. The three main shareholders of PSA (the French State, the Peugeot family and DongFeng) representing in aggregate 36.6% of the share capital and 51.5%7 of the voting rights of PSA have undertaken to vote in favor of the resolution related to the issuance of the warrants to GM. In the event the warrant issuance reserved to GM and its affiliates is not approved by PSA’s General Meeting, PSA will settle the €0.65 Bn in cash over five years.
    • By William Maley
      Only a few weeks after first learning about the talks between General Motors and PSA Group on the possible purchase of Opel/Vauxhall, Reuters reports that a deal has been reached.
      This afternoon, two sources told the news service the board of PSA Group approved the deal. An announcement about the purchase is expected on Monday. Also, Opel cut short a town hall meeting today at their headquarters in Ruesselsheim, Germany due to management being unable to discuss details about the potential acquisition. A town hall meeting possibly discussing this will take place on Monday morning.
      Details about the deal are being kept under wraps, but earlier in the week, sources revealed that the two parties had narrowed the differences on the almost $10 billion in Opel pension liabilities and other issues. 
      Source: Reuters

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