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Will Opel Return to the U.S.?

That could be critical to German brand’s fate.

by on Jun.20, 2011

Opel reveals the newest Corsa -- which could come to the U.S., according to a senior Opel exec..

It’s one of the best-known nameplates in Europe, but few Americans know the “blitz,” the lightning-strike logo of German-based Opel.  But that could be about to change, says a senior executive with the General Motors subsidiary.

The brand’s chief counsel apparently sees an opportunity to sell Opel’s fuel efficient small cars to increasingly mileage-sensitive American motorists.  The move could help the struggling Opel overcoming a decade’s worth of financial problems – and prevent the rumored GM plan to sell off the floundering marque.

There’s just one problem, industry analysts warn: at the current exchange rate, the dollar is worth less than 0.7 Euros, which makes it extremely difficult to turn a profit importing luxury cars from Europe, never mind econoboxes like the Opel Corsa.

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“The brand had a good reputation in the United States,” Opel Chief Counsel Klaus Franz told the Stuttgart-based Auto Motor und Sport.

He said a study is already underway and that the new model could come to the States by 2013 under the nameplates Junior or Allegra.


GM Going it Alone With Opel

Maker withdraws aid requests, will self-fund turnaround.

by on Jun.16, 2010

Opel CEO Nick Reilly will have to lead a turnaround without government aid.

After having the Berlin government reject a bailout request for its troubled Opel subsidiary, General Motors is withdrawing a bid for help from other European governments and will now seek to fund the operation’s recovery on its own.

The announcement is the latest twist in a saga that began even before GM’s own U.S. bankruptcy, last year, which triggered a $50 billion package of aid from the American Treasury.  At one point, while the giant automaker was struggling for survival, it gave serious thought to selling a majority stake in German-based Opel and its British sibling Vauxhall.

But in recent months, with its own recovery proceeding better than anticipated, GM has not only been able to hang onto Opel, but now believes it can handle the financing of the unit’s turnaround.


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“Given the need to proceed quickly,” a GM statement said, it can no longer wait while trying to negotiate assistance from various European governments.  That bid was dealt a severe blow, last week, when the administration of German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the latest request for Opel aid.


Nick Reilly to Run Opel – Temporarily

GM's Asian/International boss filling in as Euro CEO sought.

by on Nov.10, 2009

British-born Nick Reilly will temporarily fill in as Opel CEO while GM looks for a permanent replacement for former boss Carl-Peter Forster.

British-born Reilly will temporarily fill in as Opel CEO while GM looks for a permanent replacement for former boss Carl-Peter Forster.

Globe-trotting British auto executive Nick Reilly, who has been running General Motors’ big Asian operations, is relocating halfway around the world – for now, anyway, as the temporary CEO of the maker’s troubled Opel unit.

The German-based Opel is in the midst of turmoil surrounding GM’s decision to back out of its planned sale to a Canadian-Russian consortium led by the giant auto supplier Magna International.  The proposed deal, which had been forcefully backed by the German government, would have left GM a minority player, and was seen as a challenge to using Opel as a global product development center.

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Last week, Opel’s CEO Carl-Peter Forster announced his resignation.  He is expected to go to work for Jaguar-Land Rover, the British luxury marques now owned by India’s Tata Motors.  That put GM into a scramble to find a new Opel boss who could manage the reverberations of the failed sale.  German political leaders have raged about GM’s decision and German workers – who expected to get a 10% stake in the company after the sale – initially staged a walkout and withdrew an offer to grant Opel concessions.