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Opel Will Close German Assembly Plant

Critical step in GM’s European turnaround plan.

by on Dec.10, 2012

Job cuts will be handled in a "socially responsible way," promises GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky.

Despite resistance from unions and political leaders, General Motors will move ahead with plans to close an excess assembly plant in Germany, a move seen as critical to the maker’s long-awaited turnaround in the troubled European market.

The news could impact about 3,000 of GM’s 20,000 German employees – but the maker said it will handle the anticipated job cuts in a “socially responsible way.” The question still lingering is whether additional plant closings and job cuts will be necessary to right GM’s floundering Opel subsidiary.

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In a statement, the maker stressed that “The main reasons” for the closure of the Bochum assembly plant “are the dramatic declines in the European car market and the enormous overcapacity in the entire European auto industry.”


Madam, I’m Adam

Critical Opel minicar makes Paris debut, targets Fiat 500.

by on Sep.27, 2012

The new Adam Opel is one of 23 new models the maker promises over the next 4 years.

Opel had the rapt attention of its audience as it pulled the covers off the new Adam minicar to help kick off the 2012 Paris Motor Show Thursday morning.

Make that rapped attention, though it was clear by the puzzled look on the faces of most of the journalists attending the early morning preview that the fast-paced presentation by a half-dozen rap artists was a lot more difficult to follow than the usual executive speech.

No matter, the new Opel Adam is aimed at a decidedly different audience – though it could be one of the most important models to emerge from the German maker’s product development studios in a number of years.  The Adam is the first of a promised 23 vehicles the General Motors subsidiary will roll out over the next four years in its effort to turnaround years of devastating losses.

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If a first glance sparks a sense of déjà vu that’s no surprise.  The Adam is clearly aimed at such popular European microcars as the Fiat 500.  It boasts a similar, tall hatch-like shape, with a chrome accent line wrapping around the cars “greenhouse.”


GM Won’t Abandon Opel

Maker reveals 23 new models in the works.

by on Sep.20, 2012

GM CEO Dan Akerson (r) and Vice Chairman Steve Girsky driving a classic 1960 Corvette.

Despite mounting losses that could near $2 billion this year – and increasing demands that it abandon its troubled European operations – General Motors insists it remains committed to a turnaround at the Opel brand.

The maker hopes to reverse what will likely be its 14th consecutive year of losses by rolling out a procession of new products – at the same time it takes steps to slash costs and reduce excess capacity.

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But critics contend GM could be running out of time and suggest that its fiasco in Europe is a major factor suppressing its stock price and holding back a long-sought upgrade in its debt rating.


Girsky Named Opel Chairman

Corporate troubleshooter aims to reverse recent losses.

by on Nov.22, 2011

Former Wall Street analyst Steve Girsky will now be leading GM's struggling Opel subsidiary.

General Motors Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky, the company’s chief troubleshooter, has been named Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Adam Opel AG, effective immediately. Girsky replaces Nick Reilly, who recently resigned from the board as a member and chairman and will retire from GM next March.

The shake-up follows word that Opel once again went into the red for the third quarter after two black quarters.  The German-based subsidiary has been struggling for years and GM nearly sold off a majority stake in Opel following the humbled U.S. giant’s emergence from bankruptcy in 2009.

“With Steve Girsky as Chairman of the Board and Karl Friedrich Stracke as (the new) President of GM Europe and CEO of Opel/Vauxhall, GM has two highly experienced leaders to take Opel to the next level,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “They will build on the hard work that’s been done under Nick Reilly’s leadership to return our European operations to sustainable profitability.”

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Girsky steps into the role just as the European auto industry is grappling with the prospects of another recession. Only last week, Akerson warned Europe’s financial woes could lead to another economic downturn that could ripple across the globe. However, even before the financial crisis gripped Europe, Opel and GM Europe — of which it is the principle component — had failed to meet its turnaround target and Akerson had vowed to make fixing the European operation one of his key priorities.