General Motors remains strong in North America and in China but the decision to sell its German subsidiary Adam Opel to France’s PSA Group will leave it barren in Europe, the world’s second-largest market behind China.

If the deal is completed by year’s end as scheduled, PSA, which makes Peugeot, Citroen and DS-brand cars, will own both GM’s Opel and its U.K.-based Vauxhall operations for a seemingly bargain $2.2 billion. Combined they operate 12 manufacturing plants and four development and test centers and employ 34,500 people.

PSA will boost its European market share to 14.2%, according to WardsAuto estimates, with annual sales nearing 2.75 million vehicles, No.2 in volume but well behind market leader Volkswagen.

By coincidence, GM in 2005 paid $2 billion – slightly less than it should receive for PSA – to Fiat for backing out of a proposal to purchase 90% of the Italian automaker, planning to add it to the 10% it already owned. GM got almost nothing in return.

Following that debacle Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the name Fiat adopted after acquiring bankrupt Chrysler during the 2009 recession, has tried unsuccessfully to link up with GM. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne reportedly still thinks he has a chance at some kind of GM deal despite the Opel-PSA agreement.

Perhaps as a harbinger of things to come, PSA and GM inked an alliance in 2012 designed to save $2 billion in annual costs by 2018. That later was scaled back to $1.2 billion and in December 2013 GM sold its 7% ownership in PSA. The following year PSA faced bankruptcy but was bailed out by the French government and China’s Dongfeng Motors, each acquiring a 14% stake.

GM says it will use the PSA cash to buy back shares, a tactic aimed at boosting its lagging performance on the New York Stock Exchange while chopping off a drag on its overall earnings.

But it comes at a huge price: GM launched a $5.2 billion Opel restructuring plan in 2013, which included 27 new vehicles and an aim to become profitable by 2016. Unrest caused by the U.K.’s vote to exit the European Union forced Opel to reset its profitability target for 2018.

Under the PSA deal, GM remains saddled long term with $3.6 billion in Opel’s pension obligations and, besides GM’s cash infusions, Opel over the years has received billions more where it operates in nations anxious to preserve jobs.