BMW talks green cars with France's Peugeot

AFP - [email protected] • 2 Feb, 2009 Updated Mon 2 Feb 2009 18:13 CEST
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German automaker BMW said Monday it held talks in France last month on issues such as electric cars but added that the exchanges did not cover cooperation on an industrial level.

A BMW spokesman was responding to a report earlier in the day in the French financial newspaper La Tribune that French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen and BMW were considering an alliance.

The paper, citing an industry source, said a delegation from BMW had visited the offices of the French presidency, prime minister and finance minister "to confer with technical advisors."

BMW spokesman Marc Hessinger told AFP that a company delegation that did not include members of the board met with "high ranking civil servants" in Paris on January 21. The topics of conversation included "cooperation on a political level between France and German on sustainable mobility," and electric vehicles in particular.

But the two sides did not talk about industrial cooperation, and thus not about a possible alliance between BMW and PSA Peugeot-Citroen, he added. Contacted by AFP, neither PSA Peugeot Citroen nor the French government would comment on the newspaper report.

Hessinger said no other meetings were expected by BMW but that the company was in talks with Fiat of Italy about possible joint projects. Fiat and the US group Chrysler agreed last month on a strategic alliance that will see Fiat take a 35 percent stake in Chrysler.

La Tribune said that "the government is considering new areas of cooperation for French auto makers," adding that Peugeot was looking for a "true alliance." Peugeot and BMW already cooperate on the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre engines used in the Peugeot 207 and 308 and in the Citroen C4 and C4 Picasso. BMW equips its Mini model with such engines as well.

The French government is expected to unveil a plan to support the French auto industry in the first half of February.



AFP 2009/02/02 18:13

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