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GM board OK's Opel revival plan

2012-06-29 09:18

DETROIT, Michigan - A supervisory board overseeing General Motors’ Opel brand has, the Detroit News reports, approved a plan to ”bring Opel back to sustainable profitability”.

DetNews says the plan includes investing in Opel and Vauxhall (the British arm) products with 23 new models and 13 new power trains by 2016; exporting to growing markets such as China; a new sales strategy; reducing material, development and production costs; and leveraging its alliance made earlier in 2012 with PSA Peugeot Citroen.

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GM's vice-chairman and Opel supervisory board chairman Steve Girsky said: "The plan paves the way for Opel's strong future."

GM's European operations lost $747-million in 2011 year and another $256-million (before interest and taxes) in the first quarter of 2012.

The automaker is is negotiating with German trade unions to keep its Bochum plant open until the end of the Opel Zafira's life cycle some time in 2016 - putting the 3100-employee plant in jeopardy - and wants to delay a 4.3% pay rise for German metal-workers.

GM's chairman and CEO Dan Akerson told GM shareholders its European operations was the biggest challenge and one of several factors affecting the Detroit automaker's stock price.

Opel employs 20 800 people in Germany and more than 40 000 across Europe.