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GM Completes Sale of Opel/Vauxhall to France’s PSA

Detroit maker continues downsized focus on profitable markets.

by on Aug.01, 2017

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares and his GM counterpart Mary Barra celebrate the sale of Opel.

Moving faster than many expected, General Motors has completed the sale of its money-losing European operations to PSA Group, the French automaker’s chairman hailing “the birth of a true European champion today.”

The sale was announced last March and marked a major shift by General Motors away from being a global brand operating in virtually every possible market to one focusing on locales where it can be sure of turning a profit. The long-troubled Opel/Vauxhall unit had last operated in the black in 1999 despite repeated turnaround efforts.

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Itself running deep in the red until earlier in the decade, Parisian-based PSA, the parent of the Peugeot and Citroen brands, has delivered an unexpectedly strong turnaround of its own since the original Peugeot family gave up control of the company and Carlos Tavares was brought on board to run the company.

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VW Courting Opel’s Neumann to Return

German maker hoping he’ll come back to old employer.

by on Jun.12, 2017

GM Europe chief Karl-Thomas Neumann may be on his way back to his previous employer, Volkswagen AG.

This story has been updated due to new information.

Karl-Thomas Neumann, the highly regarded executive picked by General Motors to lead the company’s stalled European operations resigned effective immediately today. He will be replaced as CEO by Michael Loscheller, currently the chief financial officer. appears headed back to Volkswagen.

Neumann appears headed back to Volkswagen, which is in dire need of fresh executive talent in the walk diesel-cheating scandal, is looking to rehire the former head of Opel, Karl-Thomas Neumann, perhaps to lead its Audi brand, according to reports that surfaced over the weekend in Germany.

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Neumann’s departure would not exactly be a surprise, given GM’s decision in March to sell off its European operations to the Paris-based PSA Group. (more…)

Opel Insignia Offers Strong Hint of Next Buick Regal

Plans could be complicated by sale of Opel to PSA.

by on Mar.08, 2017

Opel designer Mark Adams rehearses his line before the Geneva debut of the Opel Insignia.

Opel could definitely use a lift. The once-grand European automaker has been struggling for years, and it didn’t help when General Motors announced last month that it was likely to sell the German-based brand to France’s PSA.

That deal was announced just a day before the opening of the annual Geneva Motor Show, but as far as Opel was concerned, the big news was the launch of two critical new products, the Crossland X crossover, and the newly redesigned Insignia.

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The latter sedan is, in itself, particularly important because it not only lands a new family sedan in product-hungry Opel showrooms, but it also offers a strong hint of what’s to come when GM’s Buick brand unveils its own Regal sedan at the New York International Auto Show next month.

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PSA Purchasing Opel for $2.5B

But GM will remain on the hook for up to $4.5b in pension liabilities.

by on Mar.06, 2017

The ldeal between PSA Group and General Motors was sealed with a handshake between PSA chief Carlos Tavares and GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.

This story has been updated with additional information.

General Motors Co. and PSA Group have agreed to a deal in which the French automaker will take over GM’s long-struggling Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary, as well as the Detroit maker’s European financial operations for 2.2 billion euros or $2.5 billion.

For GM, deal ends the company’s long history in Europe, stretching back to the Opel acquisition in 1929. However, it doesn’t completely end the massive losses that have piled up for Opel since it last went into the black in 1999. As part of the deal, GM will retain all of Opel Vauxhall’s pension liabilities and is expected to take a $4 billion to $4.5 billion one-time charge once the deal closes later this year.

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While it ends GM’s long legacy as a truly global automaker, the sale will allow the Detroit carmaker to more fully focus on its two key markets: the U.S. and China. For PSA – which pulled out of the North American market a quarter century ago, the acquisition transforms it into Europe’s second-largest automaker, with a 17% market share, behind only the Volkswagen Group. (more…)

PSA Eyes Big Savings in Potential Opel Deal

Negotiations on sale are ongoing.

by on Feb.24, 2017

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares believes the acquisition of Opel could net $2 billion in savings.

PSA Group’s proposed acquisition of Opel would create savings of as much as $2 billion from the General Motors’ European division’s turnaround, the French carmaker’s Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said during a session with reporters and analysts.

Tavares said adding the German Opel and British Vauxhall brands to PSA’s portfolio would bring new customers to the company who have been reluctant to buy French cars, Tavares told said, while generating savings from shared technical underpinnings.

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“There is significant complementarity in terms of customer consideration between the German Opel brand and our three French brands,” Tavares said, referring to the French group’s Peugeot, Citroen and DS badges. (more…)

GM Stock Could Pop on Opel Sale

Sale of unprofitable business could net shareholder windfall.

by on Feb.20, 2017

Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO, met with leaders in Germany to assuage concerns about the potential sale of Opel to PSA.

Shareholders reacted skeptically to last week’s announcement that General Motors was in discussions to sell off its money losing European operations anchored by the Opel and Vauxhall brands to the Paris-based PSA Group.

But the weekly financial magazine Barron’s gave the proposed sale of Opel a boost when it said GM’s share could increase in value by as much as 35% if the deal was finalized and GM succeeds in finishing the sale.

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If the deal goes through, it could net GM as much as $1 billion in cash, Barron’s says, citing analysts. However, the real value from the sale would come from offloading a money-losing business and refocusing on operations in China, Latin America and North America, it said. (more…)

GM, PSA Getting Pushback on Potential Opel Deal

German, British unions and governments against the sale.

by on Feb.16, 2017

GM is re-examining its European operations, specifically, the UK, in light of the "Brexit" vote.

General Motors’ plans to sell off its money-losing Opel unit is running into political and union opposition in both Germany and Great Britain.

GM is proposing to sell Opel to the French-based PSA Group, which it is assumed will move to reduce costs, shed some of the excess capacity and move to consolidate product lines. Excess capacity has long been identified as a major problem in the European auto industry but governments and unions throughout Europe have made it extremely difficult to close plants

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Germany’s federal government and influential unions, which are already facing the threat of major job losses at Volkswagen in the wake of the diesel scandal, have moved quickly to criticize the proposed GM-PSA deal. (more…)

GM Considers Sale of Struggling Opel to France’s PSA

Automaker's European unit hasn't been profitable since 1999.

by on Feb.14, 2017

Opel chief Karl-Thomas Neumann showed off the Euro version of the Bolt in Paris.

General Motors is once again considering the sale of its money-losing European operations and has entered talks with French automaker Peugeot’s parent, the PSA Group.

The automakers both announced plans to explore new “strategic initiatives” on Tuesday, those statements coming exactly a week after GM confirmed it had once again gone into the red in Europe. It has not earned a profit there since 1999, despite repeated promises to fix the problems at its Opel and Vauxhall brands.

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Noting they already have “three projects in Europe” underway, GM and PSA said they “confirm they are exploring numerous strategic initiatives aiming at improving profitability and operational efficiency, including a potential acquisition of Opel Vauxhall by PSA,” though the joint statement cautioned “There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached.” (more…)

First Look: Retro-Futuristic Opel GT Concept

Sports car prototype to share Geneva stage with Mokka X SUV.

by on Feb.18, 2016

The Opel GT Concept will make its formal debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

German-based Opel doesn’t have much visibility in the U.S. market, but it could generate quite a buzz here – as well as in the home European market – when it formally unveils its new GT Concept at the Geneva Motor Show early next month.

The original Opel GT, dating back to the 1970s, was one of the few – and last – models imported under that brand name, though Opel designs have since made it across the Atlantic and shared with sibling General Motors brands. The old Saturn Astra and the new Buick Cascada convertible are two examples.

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The new Opel GT Concept harkens back to the original 2-seat sports car concept, the Opel Experimental GT, of 1965. It was followed a year later by the Vauxhall XVR from Opel’s British twin. A production version went on for a five-year run, from 1968 to 1973.

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GM’s Opel Set to Offer a New Battery-Electric Vehicle

Will share platform of near-twin Chevrolet Bolt.

by on Feb.12, 2016

GM CEO Mary Barra with the Chevy Bolt, which is the basis for Opel's new EV offering, the Ampera-e.

General Motors’ European Opel subsidiary is set to get its first long-range battery-electric vehicle in 2017.

Speaking at an industry conference, GM CEO Mary Barra said Opel will launch the new Ampera-e in a bid to target a mainstream audience looking for longer range than current electric vehicles can offer.

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“Like its twin, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Ampera-e promises to transform the electric vehicle market in Europe as the first EV that combines long range at an affordable price,” Barra said. (more…)