Opel Back on the Attack
The head of General Motors recently visited its German subsidiary, Opel. The U.S. car maker promises a multi-billion dollar investment. The newly minted German boss Neumann is on the attack. A report by Germany’s Handelsblatt.
Rüsselsheim. With multi-billion investments, GM CEO Dan Akerson wants to lead ailing subsidiary Opel back into the game. The U.S. company will invest up to four billion euros in Germany and in Europe by 2016, Akerson said Wednesday in Rüsselsheim: “As a global car company, GM needs a strong presence in Europe, both in design and development, as well as in production and sales.” Opel has the full support of its parent company, Akerson said after a meeting with the head of GM’s Opel leadership.
Work committee chief Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug welcomed the decision by GM to make the large investment in Opel. A few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to land such “unequivocal support by the GM Board of Directors.” GM Opel is thereby providing crucial help during “difficult times.” Long term, Opel could “not remain trapped in the prison of six percent market share.”
For the states of Hesse and Thuringia, the previously promised support presented by GM for Opel will not be sufficient. “What is still lacking here is that General Motors finally sets Opel free and allows the brand to sell cars worldwide, without restrictions,” Hesse Minister Florian Rentsch (FDP) told Handelsblatt. Only once this happens, will it be possible for the car maker to take advantage of market opportunities around the world, said Rentsch.
In Europe, GM has been bleeding money for years. In 2012 alone, the company recorded an operating loss of $1.8 billion (1.3 billion euros). The announced investment comes as part of the growth and austerity program dubbed “Drive 2022”, with investments destined to flow into new models and engines. The company’s intent is to regain share in the shrinking European car market.