Opel's Dealers Man The Barricades

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Opel’s new CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann isn’t officially CEO yet, and he already is facing a rebellion of his troops. Opel dealers threaten to discontinue the brand if Opel won’t withdraw a new distribution system. The dealers say the system comes from where Neumann and Opel’s sales chief Matthias Seidl come from: From Volkswagen.

The new system cuts into dealer margins and is so complicated that “I have to hire a mathematician to understand it,“ an enraged Opel dealer told Automobilwoche [sub]. The dealers say the system is similar to those at Volkswagen and Skoda. Neumann was Volkswagen’s chief in China before he decided to take the top job at Opel. Seidl came from Saab, but spent 20 years at Volkswagen . Some point the fingers at Girksy “who wants to increase Opel’s profits by decreasing dealer profits,” as a comment in Das Autohaus reads.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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4 of 9 comments
  • Buickman Buickman on Feb 04, 2013

    Girsky, the man who was advising during the loss of Pontiac, Hummer, Saab, and Saturn while billions were wasted on Fiat, Delphi was bankrupted for practice, and tens of other billions were spun and sold. and this is the guy sent to "fix" Europe. c'mon really? Spidey got the Green Goblin and Superman got Lex, and I have to deal with this bankster? geesh!

  • Sitting@home Sitting@home on Feb 04, 2013

    "Opel dealers threaten to discontinue the brand if Opel won’t withdraw a new distribution system." What would the dealers sell then ?

  • Speed3 Speed3 on Feb 04, 2013

    GM should seriously cut its losses on Opel. Dump it and focus on Daewoos, er Chevrolets in Europe. I hear budget brands are all the rage these days there.

  • Bobby Peru Bobby Peru on Feb 05, 2013

    Don't push this, Bertel – Automobilwoche is overdoing the issue – what goes on there at the moment are quite normal negotiations in progress between Opel and the dealers alliance about the sales program 2013. Results expected today or tomorrow. You'll be informed.