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Opel will understand it should ‘copy paste’ our model, says Peugeot chief

Peugeot can help Opel reverse ten years of red ink by showing the European brand how it achieved its own turnaround, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Peugeot parent PSA group told CNBC on Tuesday.

"The most convincing argument that we can send to them is to show them what we have done at PSA over the last four years. Everybody knows the turnaround, everybody can see the results…Because we have succeeded in our own turnaround we may have a chance to help Opel to become also a great company," said Carlos Tavares, speaking at the Geneva Motor Show.

The car chief was speaking the day after his company shelled out 2.2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) to buy Opel from U.S. motor giant General Motors (GM) to create the Europe's second-largest carmaker.

A Peugeot automobile sits in a parking lot outside the Opel automobile headquarters in Ruesselsheim, Germany, on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.
Alex Kraus | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A Peugeot automobile sits in a parking lot outside the Opel automobile headquarters in Ruesselsheim, Germany, on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.

Asked whether his plan would involve job cuts, the CEO said it was not the first option available to the struggling German marque's new owner.

"Since I took the helm of PSA we didn't shut down any plant by PSA. This is not how we address the problem. I think shutting down plants is a simplistic way of looking at things. Before we reach that kind of dramatic situation, we have tonnes of things we can do to improve the efficiency of the plants," Tavares asserted, going on to list online developments, internal logistics, reworking of existing plans, energy savings and "many, many" other ideas to improve efficiency.

Sounding a confident tone over the willingness of Opel's management and workers to fall into line with PSA's plans, Tavares spoke to how he proposed transferring the experience from Peugeot's four-year recovery.

"We want to give them all the good ideas, the best practices that we have implemented in our own plans and I'm sure they are bright, well-educated and they will understand it is in their best interests to 'copy paste' everything they can from everything we have done so far," he offered.

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