Barra's GM Holding Firm On Plans To Revive Opel Profits

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff

Appearing before Opel’s best and brightest in Germany, General Motors CEO Mary Barra proclaimed her company’s European brand, though unprofitable, is a vital one for the General.

Last year, GM announced they would invest $5.5 billion through 2016 to fund the development of 23 new models and 13 new engines to aid in the overhaul of Opel’s aging lineup, with president Dan Ammann — responsible for global regions under Barra — being nominated as supervisory board chairman at Opel. The automaker is also holding firm on plans to build an all-new vehicle for Opel’s main factory in Germany, all in an effort to help the brand return to profitability by the middle of the 2010s.

In turn, GM recently withdrew Chevrolet from Europe to give Opel more breathing room, as well as planning to shutter Opel’s plan in Bochum, Germany by the end of 2014. Meanwhile, the Ruesselsheim will be assigned a new model sometime down the line to go with the Insignia and Zafira Tourer.

European sales of Opel and Vauxhall fell 1.5 percent in 2013 to 825,000 units, while market share held at 6.7 percent. The duo are the third-largest brand behind Volkswagen and Ford.

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  • Skog Skog on Jan 28, 2014

    Who actually buys Opels nowadays? I recently spent two years in Germany, in Bavaria where obviously BMW and Audi are well represented. But i saw hardly any Opels anywhere. There are quite a few as taxis but very few people drive them privately. They seem to be lost without a market segment, caught between VW/Skoda and the cheaper imports on one side, and the premium brands on the other.

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    • Pch101 Pch101 on Feb 09, 2014

      @Pch101 "A company car that can be used privately is one of the auxiliary services employers can render in addition to income. In doing so, employees are offered varying company car programmes. They do not always have free choice when it comes to the make. In fact, ***most companies only supply certain makes of car and equipment***, in order to keep administration low." "As a consequence we have found, that when recruiting in Germany, often the subject of the company car, ***what kind of car***, what configuration it has etc. is a subject which requires more time in the negotiation of the package than the salary itself! In Germany, the company car is definitely a status symbol and is vigorously defended. Therefore a “car allowance”, while accepted by some, is nonetheless a very poor second to a fully expensed company car." Sorry, but your comments re: car choice were not correct. Your anecdotes mirror your selection bias, not what actually happens.

  • Buckshot Buckshot on Jan 28, 2014

    "Who actually buys Opels nowadays?" I don´t understand that either. New Opels in Sweden are few and far between. You get a german car a bargain price but the quality is not up to the pricetag. Maybe they are popular in eastern Europe?

  • HerrKaLeun HerrKaLeun on Jan 28, 2014

    "the development of 23 new models and 13 new engines to aid" this must be for all GM vehicles not jsut Opel? Not even VW with all its brands has that many models, unless GM plans to badge-engineer and call each trim a model. And who needs 13 new engines? Why not 6-8 really good ones inc. diesel versions? Are they planning to sell engines in 1-hp increments? it always was one of the European car companies games to offer dozens of engines with 2 good ones and the rest garbage. Maybe that is why cars are so much more expensive in Europe, all the production management, certification, testing, tooling etc. In the early 1990s VW used to sell the Golf with carburator, fuel injection, and 5 different displacements, and that is just the gasoline versions. They had 4-speed and 5-speed options.. talk about inventory nightmare (that's why people have to factory order there)

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    • Mike978 Mike978 on Jan 29, 2014

      People factory order because they are willing to wait a few weeks and don`t need instant gratification. Also the dealerships don`t have acres of space to stock hundreds of cars. Land is on average cheaper in the US.

  • Mjz Mjz on Jan 29, 2014

    That Opel Cascada would make a fine new Buick Wildcat here! Hope they bring it over, especially with Chrysler dropping the 200 'vert.