When GM went on the begging tour around Europe, they had dire projections. They expected a loss of $1.7b or thereabouts for 2009. Can’t have such bad news before an IPO. And imagine the elation when the big bottom line was drawn under the books of the 2009 fiscal – and Opel had lost only $600m. Who dunnit?
The folks who didn’t want to help Opel, Germany’s government in Berlin. Opel had such a big windfall from the cash-4-clunkers Abrwackprämie that the loss was just a fraction of what had been expected. That’s the official version.
The unofficial version: “It’s hard to tell from these books how Opel is really doing,” says Automobilwoche [sub]. A spokesperson in Rüsselheim confirmed: “The numbers only pertain to the Adam Opel GmbH in Germany. This is no balance sheet on the group level, they are the financials of one local company.” GM however doesn’t break out the numbers for Opel as a whole.
And the numbers won’t be as pretty this year. When the first half of the year were over, Opel already was $637m in the reds. Expect a red billion at least – letting people go in Europe is expensive. Next year, Reilly will be in the blacks – before restructuring costs. Let’s call it another billion. In 2012, Opel wants to be profitable again. Everybody wants to be profitable in 2012.