The Peugeot family, divided by tenacity and pride, finally had to yield. At the command post for centuries, the family-owned company, which in 1976 added Citroën and formed the PSA group, had to cede control by allowing the French government and Chinese Dongfeng to enter into equal parts of ownership. Each partner will possess 14 percent of the company shares and have its own leadership. In the meantime the battle still rages over who will sit as the chairman of the supervisory board, which up until now has always been one of the Peugeot family. Thierry Peugeot is the outgoing chairman.
The family yielded precisely because they respect the family. The 2013 results show that the PSA group lost 2.32 billion euros after having lost 5 billion in 2012. They admitted from Paris that despite the fact that their losses diminished in 2013 with respect to 2012, the numbers still don’t add up and won’t until at least 2016.
For the first time in history the French government has entered in Peugeot. This is an insult to the Peugeot family, which its rival Renault — a historical, French, publicly-traded company where the French government still possesses 15 percent of its shares — is surely celebrating at Veuve Cliquot. Let’s not even mention the other partner Dongfeng, which is controlled entirely by the Chinese government.
The Peugeot family is no longer completely in charge, and this fact marks the end of an age. This is especially true from the perspective of the royal families of the automobile world.
The Ford family still remains, and, during the shareholders’ meetings, they defend their control at all costs against the assaults of investors, who are looking for any ground they can take just short of going too far. The Quandt family of Bmw is untouchable; the Piech-Porsche family continues to play good cop – bad cop within the Volkswagen empire; the Toyoda, together with Akio, directly control the Toyota of the engineers. And finally, the Elkann-Agnelli family—who, with the exception of Lapo, isn’t passionate at all about cars—is trying to blind Marchionne with an absurd amount of incentives in order to make something out of Fiat and Chrysler that will stand the test of time.