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Opel Plant Closes in Bid to Save GM Europe

Bochum plant victim of desperate turnaround bid.

by on Dec.05, 2014

The Bochum, Germany plant, which produced the Opel Zafira, was closed by Adam Opel.

General Motors has taken a critical step forward in its bid to salvage its money-losing European operations, shuttering an unneeded plant in Bochum, Germany.

The closure of the factory, which once employed as many as 22,000 workers, is central to a bid to reverse 15 years of losses by the Adam Opel subsidiary. At the same time, GM plans to invest 4 billion Euros, or nearly $5 billion into its European business to expand its product portfolio and improve the competitiveness of its remaining factories.

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The maker now says it expects to achieve a break-even at Opel by mid-decade. But that goal has been delayed so long that industry analysts are playing wait-and-see before declaring GM’s latest turnaround strategy a success. (more…)

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.


GM May Be Ready to Dump Opel

Faltering turnaround has GM exploring its options.

by on Jun.10, 2011

Opel could be up for sale again.

Hints that General Motors is thinking about dumping Opel are circulating again, especially in Germany, where the maker is based.

Concerns about Opel’s future were initially touched off as GM plunged into bankruptcy and came close to selling off a majority stake in the European subsidiary. Ultimately, GM decided to hold onto Opel but, earlier this week, CEO Dan Akerson declared that Chevrolet would become the carmaker’s lead global brand, a position that once was reserved for Opel.

Now, the German news magazine Der Spiegel, one of Europe’s most influential and authoritative publications, reports GM appears to be getting ready to sell Opel off again after backing out of the 2009 deal that would have turned control of the German operation over to a troika that included Magna and Russian bankers and investors.

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However, Der Speigel said GM’s top management, namely Chairman and chief executive officer Akerson, are growing impatient with the lack of progress in regaining profitability. Opel has steadily lost money for the better part of a decade but the problems were always overshadowed by the larger issues looming over the parent company back in Detroit.