Tavares hustles to return humbled Peugeot to autoindustry race …

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PEUGEOT 3008 Electric Cars

Tavares hustles to return Peugeot to auto-industry race

manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen’s Chairman Philippe Varin, talks with newly-appointed CEO Tavares during a press announcing the company’s 2013 at the PSA headquarters in Paris on February 19. Piermont / AFP/Getty Images)

PSA Citroen’s incoming Chief Officer Carlos Tavares around the Geneva International Show last week in a way didn’t suggest he was taking one of the jobs in the auto industry.

his first car show since the French carmaker “is very Tavares said while to Peugeot’s display area, electronic music throbbed and the 308 — the 2014 European Car of the Year — was displayed. “I’m a lucky

He might be the only one that that. The 55-year-old is charged turning around Europe’s carmaker, which racked up than 6 billion euros billion) in losses over the two years. Wiry and with hair, the former chief officer at French competitor SA will succeed Philippe as CEO on March 31.

Tavares will take the at a critical juncture in the 118-year-old history. With its market in western Europe slumping to its level in more than two the heirs of founder Armand relinquished control, agreeing to let the government and China-backed Dongfeng Corp. buy 14 percent stakes. In the the family’s stake will be down to that level as

The deal could be both a and a curse for Tavares. The transaction add 3 billion euros to Peugeot’s and give it breathing room to expansion plans in China, and Brazil.

Earth, Fire

At the time, the three-headed ownership including sensitive political could become an obstacle for an known to be blunt and occasionally in his assessments, according to Bruno the head of Renault’s works

“It will be a tough challenge,” Yves Dubreil, a retired engineer who worked with in the late 1990s. “The state troika is like water, fire and earth — three elements that are to unite.”

Even with his positive Tavares is keenly aware of the he faces. At his first meeting analysts last month, he the Paris-based company’s overlapping that pits Peugeot and models against one another. He about streamlining costs and more focused in emerging

The self-described “petrol head,” who Peugeot on Jan. 1, also afraid to ruffle feathers, that Varin’s development trailed competitors.


“There was a kind of blindness Tavares now seems to be questioning,” Bernard Jullien, director of automotive think tank “It took him less than months to realize that. I this very comforting.”

took an unorthodox path to get the top job at After working for Renault and its affiliate Nissan Motor Co. for than three decades, he Bloomberg News in August he wanted to become CEO of a big car company. his boss, Carlos Ghosn, going anywhere, he said he may to move to another manufacturer, Ford Motor Co. and General Co. as potential destinations.

That ended up becoming a prophecy. The public statement his personal ambitions created a triggering his departure as Renault’s in command two weeks later and him to take over at Peugeot.

“If stands in his way, he either that position or he leaves,” Bruno Cebile, a long-time and former Renault colleague who as a navigator with Tavares in races. “This is his Champions He will give everything he

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Award Winner

His competitiveness was in the name he gave for the business that he will present month: “Back in the Race.” speaking to analysts in February being officially designated he said Peugeot has humility and “a big characteristic of champions.”

While he can’t take for it, Peugeot started the Geneva show on a positive note, the 308 compact winning Europe’s annual car award. The hatchback out BMW AG’s i3 electric car, Motors Inc.’s Model S and the luxury sedan from AG’s Mercedes-Benz to win the honor for the time in 12 years.

While the praised the car as “stylish and with new in quality and elegance,” Tavares need to turn those into sales and profit. He has the

The founder of Clementeam Racing — competes in auto races in and is named after the oldest of his daughters — the executive is the first “car guy” to lead the after a string of outside Current CEO Varin came the metals industry, while his was former Airbus executive Streiff.

Megane Developer

Tavares, in Lisbon, joined Renault in as a test driver after from Ecole Centrale de a top French engineering school. He through the ranks, including development of the Renault Megane As COO, the French company unexpected growth in profit in the half of 2013 as labor-cost and higher vehicle prices an industrywide slump in European

When Tavares oversaw America for Nissan, he helped the earn 209 billion yen ($2.03 in the region in the year ended 2010, versus a 46.7 loss the previous year. being appointed Peugeot he posted on his Facebook page: challenge of my life!”

In Geneva, was very much the man in charge at his new He and his entourage, including development Gilles Le Borgne, toured the floor to review rival such as compact sport-utility like the Kia Soul, Mercedes GLA and Renegade, as well as checking out Chinese brand Qoros. hard-driving style may be just the doctor ordered for the French

“The competitor’s image do us good,” said Christian the FO union leader at Peugeot. will certainly be some effects, like when one a drug. But I dare to believe these side effects be less important than he’ll bring. We need a

PEUGEOT 3008 Electric Cars
PEUGEOT 3008 Electric Cars
PEUGEOT 3008 Electric Cars
PEUGEOT 3008 Electric Cars
PEUGEOT 3008 Electric Cars
PEUGEOT 3008 Electric Cars

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