By on May 14, 2012

A lot of the Opel news seen below emanated from an all hands meeting at Opel’s ancestral home in Rüsselsheim. Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke explained the restructuring plan for Opel. According to German media reports, Stracke delivered more questions than answers. According to Reuters Germany, “the management of the lossmaking GM subsidiary did not contribute to a heightened confidence of employees.” The impression is that the management has no plan.

What Stracke presented today did not impress. Stracke said that production of the volume model Astra, currently made in three locations, will be concentrated on two plants – which, remains open.

The PSA alliance will not bring immediate results, the reports say. The first car with a common architecture is expected not earlier then 2016.

Opel is already thinking of more alliances. “Opel is open to beneficial partnerships, like the recent one with PSA Peugeot Citroen,” the company said in a statement.

Criticized that Opel had been kept out of new growth markets, Stracke states that Opel wants to open new markets in Australia, North Africa, South America and the Middle East. “We already started successfully in Israel and we will intensify our engagement in China, Russia and Turkey,” Stracke said while stressing that exports into other markets than Europe are not the do-all and end-all.

No kidding: Israel is a 240,000 unit per year market, or about as important on a global scale as the Czech Republic. Opel’s engagement in China so far has led to nothing, seen any Opels in GM’s China statistics? And why does GM have to look for new alliance partners while it sits on the world’s largest (and most mis-managed) scale effect?

Let’s face it: There is no quick fix in sight.

Opel’s and GM’s hands are tied through 2014 by contracts with the unions, the losses will continue.

Closing one plants in 2015 will cost some $2 billion, creating a huge loss after years of hefty losses.

It typically takes a few years until a painful restructuring will show its effects.  This costs time and money, and Opel has neither.


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3 Comments on “Opel Open To More Partners, Presents Restructuring Plan To No Applause...”

  • avatar

    Maybe it’s just dementia setting in but do I remember correctly that the ‘transition management’ at GM had decided to dump Opel, but Akerson vetoed that stupid (to him) idea? I remember Red Ink Rick opining that “we think we can hang on to Saturn”. This was after bankruptcy had been declared. IIRC Saturn had turned a profit in exactly 1 year of its existence and just barely in that single year. I don’t know what they’re called, but I’m waiting for the guy posing as Akerson to reach up under his chin and pull off the rubber mask he’s wearing and reveal that Wagoner is still running the show. Maybe the GM board should take a cue from Yahoo and flip CEOs. Better yet, quit as a group and let the new bunch take a shot at it.

    The new GM management seems to be very much like the old crew. They’ve shut down lots of smallish Cadillac dealers. There used to be a Caddy/Chevy dealer in this 40k or town I live near. My guess is they sold 10 a year max, but that’s 10 more than they’ll sell this year, and they had several used Cads for sale. Now the nearest Cad new or used is 35 miles away. What’s good about reducing the market for used cars of your brand? How was killing Pontiac good? I still see a lot of Pontiacs around here, but not for long. For sure it hurt the dealers. I’ve forgotten the number, but the average Buick dealer sells like 4 or so new new Buick cars a month. Adding 10 or so new Pontiacs to that would help them greatly. The sales people I talk to would love to have the G6 and Vibe back. I see the Toyota lot is filling up with new stuff again and they have $4k on the hoods of several Tundras. This is not looking good.

    • 0 avatar

      GM is a car and truck maker. Making cars is a bit difficult if you sell your car developers. That is why selling Opel is a no-no.

      • 0 avatar

        Charly, I signed up here just to reply to you.

        Your post illustrates a very common misconception about GM global product development. I don’t want to call myself an insider, but I know people who run a certain GM website that have very powerful internal connections. My area is foreign policy, and I view who possesses engineering capability as a massive foreign policy issue. As such, I’ve used these connections to learn about where GM develops vehicles. Don’t take this as a personal afront to you, but please do learn from it.

        As such, Opel is a small part of GM’s global product development. Most people don’t know this, but the Epsilon platform – you know, the platform that gives Opel it’s entire claim to fame – was designed in North America. That’s right. It was a project led by the Warren Tech Center. The Opel Insignia, while designed in Germany, was designed primarily by Americans working at GM’s International Operations.

        Opel has some good engineers, and generally does good work. The problem is that the number of engineers it has, relative to the amount of work it does, is VASTLY disproportional. And despite this massive numerical advantage in engineers to project productivity, Opel somehow gets a better reputation than GM North America engineers.

        Even GM has propagated this lie, so again, don’t take this personally. The Buick Regal, though, is as American as apple pie. Anyone who tells you otherwise is uninformed.

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