French president Nicolas Sarkozy has hinted at a possible factory sharing deal between French automotive giants
Peugeot and Japanese manufacturers Toyota.
Speaking to French newspaper La Voix du Nord, Sarkozy discussed recent talks with Peugeot’s Chief Executive Phillipe Varin regarding the possible closure of the company’s Sevelnord facility;
“Sevelnord will be OK,” Sarkozy reassured the public. “My understanding is that there is a deal in discussion with Toyota for light commercial vehicles.”
The French president did not shed any further light upon the scale of Toyota’s proposed van production at Sevelnoord, nor did he deny speculation that Toyota might not be the only company in line to partner Peugeot at the plant near Valenciennes.
Peugeot’s spokesmen were also keeping their cards close to their chests regarding any new partnerships at the factory;
“There’s nothing definitive with any new partner,” a spokesman revealed on Wednesday. “We would need to ensure that the Sevelnoord site is as competitive as any possible alternatives.”
The Sevelnoord factory is the base of production for Peugeot’s Expert light commercial vehicle line, as well as the Citroen Jumpy. Fiat’s Scudo van was, until recently, also produced at the plant, but Fiat’s withdrawal has left the factory’s future in the balance.
Toyota have so far declined to comment on the rumours of a manufacturing partnership with Peugeot.