General Motors announced Friday that it sold its stake in PSA Peugeot Citroën SA for $343 million, well below the approximately $400 million it paid in March 2012 to get a 7 percent stake in Europe’s second-largest carmaker.

Although no reason was stated for the sale it is speculated that PSA Peugeot Citroën’s efforts to expand in China may have played a role in GM’s exit.  GM is the second-largest foreign automaker in China, the world’s largest auto market. GM says it has no problems with Peugeot in China, where it operates three factories with Dongfeng Motors, China’s second-largest auto company.

GM insists its alliance will continue PSA Peugeot Citroën to share parts sourcing and factory resources in Europe though GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, in charge of trying to boost GM’s business in Europe, is leaving the company in April and it’s not clear whether GM’s head of European operations, Karl-Thomas Neumann, aims to continue seeking a mutually beneficial alliance there.

In last year’s fourth quarter, GM reported a $220 million charge related to its alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroën, which is reeling from Europe’s auto market crisis, a region where the company’s 11.2 percent market share continues to shrink, Societe Generale (a French multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in Paris) said Friday.

PSA Peugeot Citroën has been burning through its cash to the tune of an estimated $2 billion this year as it attempts to recover ground in the market with new premium models and expansion in China.  The truly sad news is that we will probably never be able to drive them over here.