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GM Drops $750 Million on Opel Severance Plans

Maker spending about $165,000 per worker at Bochum plant.

by on Jun.17, 2014

The Bochum, Germany plant, which produced the Opel Zafira, is slated to close by the end of the year.

General Motors has taken a critical step in the restructuring of Opel by agreeing to spend $750 million on severance and retirement packages for 3,300 members of the IG Metal, the German metalworkers union.

Opel sits at the heart of GM Europe and the restructuring is necessary to end a string of losses that reaches all the way back to the late 1990s, GM officials said. GM Europe is expected to lose money again this year, but could finally post a profit in 2015.

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Representatives of Opel and IG Metall have negotiated an agreement for the approximately 3,300 employees at a plant in Bochum, Germany, which is due to shutdown permanently by the end of the year. (more…)

GM Pulling Chevrolet from Europe in 2016

Plan gives Opel one less competitor in market.

by on Dec.05, 2013

GM is pulling its Chevy brand from Europe, hoping to bolster sales for its Opel and Vauxhall brands.

General Motors is yanking its Chevrolet brand from most of Europe by 2016 hoping it will bolster sales for its Opel and Vauxhall brands. Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States will still sell Chevy vehicles.

Chevy’s departure from Europe came in a surprise overnight news release. The brand has long been the dominant one for GM in its home North American market, but has had a less significant role abroad.

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In recent years, as German-based Opel had begun to fade, GM began looking to Chevrolet as a potential alternative. In fact, some analysts suggested GM might eventually abandon Opel entirely.  (more…)

A Diesel Running on Gasoline is Just as Sweet

By using compression ignition, a gasoline-fueled engine can be as efficient as an oil burner, and maybe less expensive.

by on May.21, 2009

Members of the GM's HCCI team preparing a prototype engine for testing.

Members of the GM's HCCI team preparing a prototype engine for testing.

The battle between the Otto cycle and the Diesel cycle in auto engines goes back more than 100 years. Diesels have a fuel economy advantage, roughly 20%, compared to traditional gasoline engines largely because of a higher compression ratio needed to ignite the fuel and the elimination of “pumping losses” caused during the intake stroke of a gasoline engine when it is operating at partial throttle.

However, the fuel injection system of a diesel and the heavier components required to hold up to the higher pressures make it much more expensive – these days thousands of dollars more – than a gasoline engine. Tighter emissions laws on cancer-causing particulate matter are adding to the expense and reducing fuel economy. Also, diesel fuel doesn’t ignite as readily as gasoline, which makes cold starting problematic.

As automakers continue the unending quest for greater fuel efficiency, a hybrid combination of diesel and gasoline engines is being studied to see if the best characteristics of both can be obtained.

One such initiative is going on at General Motors where a homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine is under study. An HCCI engine, when combined with other advanced technologies, can provide up to 15% greater fuel economy than a comparable, non-HCCI engine by using the diesel combustion process.

“HCCI delivers enhanced fuel savings without sacrificing the performance consumers have come to expect,” said Dr. Uwe Grebe, executive director for GM Powertrain Advanced Engineering.    (more…)

Saturn Sale by GM Grows More Likely

Restructuring process goes forward, one small step at a time.

by on May.04, 2009

It may still fly if a buyer surfaces.

It may still fly, if a buyer surfaces.

General Motors Corporation is apparently growing more confident that it can sell its Saturn brand. GM said Monday morning that there are a number of competing bids for Saturn, and there is sufficient interest to complete a deal prior to the end of the year.

“The process to sell (Saturn) is moving ahead,” GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson told, saying it planned to move forward with the disposition of the Saturn distribution network, which is partially owned by the GM and Saturn dealers.

“A number of potential buyers have surfaced and expressed interest in the Saturn brand and retail network. GM will be reviewing expressions of interest from the potential buyers and will look to secure an agreement with a specific buyer later this year,” GM said in a statement.

GM said it had retained S.J. Girsky & Company of New York to act as an advisor for this transaction. Saturn will continue to keep its retailers updated on its progress throughout this process, GM said. (more…)