Paris - French carmaker PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) on Monday announced the acquisition of General Motors' European subsidiary, which includes the Opel and Vauxhall brands, for 1.3 billion euros (R18 billion).

The move sees PSA regain its position as Europe's second-largest vehicle manufacturer, after Volkswagen, overtaking rival French firm Renault.

Following the takeover it is expected that future Opel and Vauxhall models will share their platforms with Peugeots, although nothing in this regard has been officially announced as yet.

PSA said it was also buying GM Europe's financial operations for 900 million euros (R12.4bn) in a joint deal with bank BNP Paribas, taking the total value of the deal to 2.2 billion euros (R30.4bn).

The takeover includes six assembly plants and five component-making facilities and some 40 000 employees.

Plans for the takeover of the Opel division by PSA were unveiled in the middle of February, sparking fears in Germany and Britain that the prospective new owner could cut non-French jobs.

PSA boss Carlos Tavares said the firm was "deeply committed to continuing to develop this great company and accelerating its turnaround".

"We are confident that the Opel/Vauxhall turnaround will significantly accelerate with our support, while respecting the commitments made by GM to the Opel/Vauxhall employees," Tavares said.

Vauxhall employs around 5000 people in Britain. Opel operates some 10 factories in Europe spread across six countries, and had 35 600 employees at the end of 2015, 18 250 of them in Germany.

Founded in 1862, Opel, with its lightning-bolt emblem, is a familiar sight on European roads, but in recent years the firm has booked repeated losses, costing GM around $15 billion (R195bn) since 2000.

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