Peugeot teams up with Nidec to produce electric vehicle motors in France

PARIS (Reuters) - Peugeot carmaker PSA Group is to bring the development and production of its electric motors back to France after creating a joint venture with Japan’s Nidec Corp that will initially invest 200 million euros ($237 million).

Raindrops cover the logo of French car manufacturer Peugeot on a automobile seen in Nantes, France, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/Files

The France-based tie-up with the Japanese maker of electric motors will equip all new Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall electric cars from 2022, taking over from Germany’s Continental and the Valeo-Siemens Automotive joint venture which will equip the first electric and hybrid-power cars the group launches in 2019.

PSA is following Renault, which repatriated its electric motor production several years ago.

“Through this partnership, the goal is to move to a strategic phase that gives us more control,” Patrice Lucas, PSA’s executive vice president for strategy, said in a presentation.

The PSA-Nidec venture is expected to have a production capacity of 900,000 motors per year from 2022, he said.

The market for electric vehicle motors is expected to double to 45 billion euros ($53 billion) over the next two decades, the companies said in a statement, as the industry undergoes profound change, with consumers increasingly demanding alternatives to combustion engines.

Nidec will operate the joint venture through Nidec Leroy-Somer, the French electric motor company it acquired in February this year for $1.2 billion.

Tetsuo Onishi, executive vice president for Nidec, said that the capital structure of the joint venture would remain split 50-50 once production began but that Nidec would take control of sales.

PSA will be the main customer, he said, but production will be open to other carmakers as well.

Nidec manufactures motors for products ranging from hard disk drives to elevators and automobiles, and owns the U.S. Motors brand.

And as global competition heats up to develop electric cars and automated driving functions, the highly acquisitive Japanese company has said it wants to become a global auto parts supplier rivalling Germany’s Robert Bosch and its compatriot Denso Corp.

It announced last week it had bought driveXpert GmbH, which makes electronic control units for automobiles and earlier this year it acquired the motor and electric power generation businesses of Emerson Electric.

The PSA deal remains subject to antitrust clearance and consultations with employee representatives.

The joint venture’s headquarters will be in Carrieres-sous-Poissy near Paris with production to be based at PSA’s huge diesel engine plant in Tremery.

($1=0.8440 euros)

Reporting by Gilles GuillaumeWriting by Richard LoughEditing by Mark Potter, Greg Mahlich