• Apr 28, 2009
Emerging reports concerning the future of General Motors' European assets casts some new light on the role which the American automaker could take with Opel and Vauxhall. The ownership and investment in Adam Opel GmbH has been a topic of much discussion recently, with General Motors seeking local government support, considering letting Opel go independent, the involvement of outside investors, and possibly the sale of the entire operation to another automaker, with Fiat and contract manufacturer Magna International touted as possible buyers. The General's new CEO, Fritz Henderson, has stated that while the company could sell Opel and divest from the company entirely, it's also possible that, given Opel's integration into GM's global operations, Detroit could hold on to majority interest in the German subsidiary while taking on additional minority stockholders.

The future of Vauxhall is emerging, however, as another question entirely. Previous reports placed the British subsidiary – the bulk of whose line-up are produced by Opel – in the same package as its German counterpart. And while Vauxhall could go to the same buyer as Opel, GM could apparently keep the British label under its own wing, citing the UK as one of its largest markets in Europe.

[Sources: The Detroit News and Automotive News Europe – subs. req'd]


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  • 46 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      If GM sells GME, they're dead. GME is responsible for product in Europe, Latin America, and even Australia—though that has changed a bit quite recently. In any case, it's the one division that is doing the job well. Opel designs and engineers world-class vehicles; GM USA clearly does not.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Vauxhall as a name will cease to exist Bloke, no matter how passionate you are about the brand name, you must be a employee....
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fox, I'm not a Vauxhall employee nor am I passionate about the name whatsoever. In fact, I've owned several Vauxhalls and Opels in the past but personally wouldn't choose to own any again.

        I'm simply telling you the reality of the situation even though you have no understanding of corporate structure and the associated legalities, not to mention the importance of the UK market. I'm not surprised at the news because GME chairman Carl-Peter Forster was in talks with British PM last year regarding Government funding for GME's version of the Volt (now known to be the Ampere) to be built at Ellesmere Port. The news is reassuring to Vauxhall workers.

        Here's one report regarding Vauxhall: http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/AllCars/239808/

        What I am against are people (usually kids) who post on here who live in dreamworlds and don't have any idea about the facts concerning the car industry.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM needs to stream line everything. Get rid of the seperate "brands" as an entire brand and keep each model from each brand that works.

      Have a single "GENERAL MOTORS" dealership that sells the "Pontiac" Solstice, "Chevy" Corvette, "GMC" Yukon, etc... This will eliminate the need for Pontiac, or any "brand" to exist as an entire separate car line, yet allow each brand's history to remain in tact.

      This will allow the best cars/trucks from each brand to stay alive and stream line GM's company and overall service. No one needs more then 1 version of the exact same car.

      This will help all the dealerships because its better to stay in business then to have to close your only "pontiac" or other brand dealership.

      Everyone wins here.

      I just hope someone at GM reads this comment!
        • 5 Years Ago
        And while Vauxhalls such as the old Velox and Cresta took cues from American cars in the 50's and 60's, you cannot possibly compare that with modern Vauxhall-Opels or the present market.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Looks like a good plan on paper, but it would never fly in the real world.

        Can you imagine Toyota separating its current nameplates into 8 different brands?
        Customers would be totally confused and put off by such nonsense; not to mention the advertising budget and legal corporate structure would have to be enlarged to accommodate all the new stable mates. Larger structure means more costs. More costs create a higher break even point. A higher break even point means less profit overall. Mr Toyoda would never condescend to this type of arrangement. It is just not cost effective.

        Furthermore, would GM sell the GMC Sierra alongside the Chevy Silverado? One would definitely cannibalize the other. And yet both are hot sellers. Dealers would push whatever they had on their lot to the detriment of the other brand completely overlooking customer preference. It would become a customer relations nightmare and corporate boondoggle in a matter of months.

        To be fair, if a plan could be worked out where each brand only had one or two models each, then your idea might work. However, it is almost impossible to separate the brands from the models in that way. I know. I have tried. There is just too much overlap.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM couldnt tell their right hand from their left feet so this plan will last about two days until Henderson comes up with another idea that won't work.

      I drive a Opel but I have no idea how GM Detroit can still be in business, I've never seen a more clueless company.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Vauxhall and Opel are identical cars so lets not bash Vauxhall, lets also remember that The Vauxhall/Opel Insignia was voted European Car Of The Year, a prestigious award when you look at the competion, this is the same car you people have been wanting in America as a Buick.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They could base the new Vauxhalls on the American cars like the new Cruze,Volt etc
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nice thought but most of the current cars from GM are based on platform's from Europe usually cheapened. And the same applies to the new Cruze, built on the Delta 2 Platform and engineered in Europe.

        The problem is the US doesn't have the engineering expertise or experience for cars. For years all the effort has been in trucks with the cars being and after thought. To be competitive with the imports you need top notch platform engineering, and that doesn't happen over night. This is why Ford use Volvo and Madza and Ford Europe to develop the car platforms.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thing is "Bloke" that no one in the UK cares anymore about the Vauxhall brand...It can be easily replaced by Opel in the UK market, irregardless of the corporate/company structure...

      The Vauxhall brand name is much more connected with the company car market, but in mainland Europe Opel is seen as a more family oriented brand...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Irregardless? You mean regardless or irrespective?

        Actually corporate structure is rather involved. Vauxhall, like Opel, has its own board of directors and its own set of legal requirements in complying with company law. These are things which differentiate those entities from mere brand names.

        If they changed the product to Opel in the UK, what would it achieve? Most likely, a drop in sales. It wouldn't improve sales, and people already know the product. It would make the average joe believe they're no longer buying a British product, even though the products are multinational in the first place. That could be a detriment. If manufacturing were pulled from the UK, that could conceivably hike up insurance rates.

        GME have already looked at the possibility of badging its products as Opel in the UK, and have twice rejected the idea. A corporate restructure in the UK in 2007 and development of a new badge logo affirmed that Vauxhall isn't likely to disappear anytime soon.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Really? Is that why the UK is GME's largest market for most of its models? Look at the sales figures.

        The UK is home to the world's largest company car market. If they rebadged everything Opel in the UK, that wouldn't change. That's why GME never bothered changing the marque. An Insignia or an Astra, like the Mondeo and Focus, are repmobiles and average family cars that are generally worth 30% of their orignal value after 3 years. On the continent, many Opels fall into sales reps hands in the same way.

        Don't be fooled - they're not upmarket brand names, nor will they ever be.
      • 5 Years Ago
      There aren't any Vauxhalls, they are all Opels, with just one model built in Britain. Who's trying to con who here?

      This whole car poker game is getting silly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No need to be rude. I have driven two Vauxhalls: both unmemorable. And I have no personal issues with Vauxhall at all. I see them as nothing more or less than a maker, or badge, of bland middle-of-the-road cars, none of which would be missed. Their percentage share of the shrinking UK market would immediately be filled by other makers, and nobody would notice their loss any more than they did that of Morris or Riley, or Austin or Wolsely for that matter.

        If GM, or somebody else, finds the badge to be economically viable that's fine by me, but let's not fool ourselves that Vauxhall is anything more than a badge on German engineered Opels. As a make they have done nothing to move forward car design or engineering for decades, and for most of my life they were just shrunk down replicas of American cars, with none of the American wow factor.
        • 5 Years Ago
        But there is huge overcapacity, and Vauxhall produces nothing of any real character or quality, and no car that isn't represented by competition from any number of other manufacturers. And Vauxhall has no worthwhile image or remembered history: the old Prince Henry of the 1920s is too far back to go, frankly.

        And GM is bust.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As well as the commercial vehicles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        But is there so much money in commercials?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "No need to be rude."

        I'm not. I'm being pragmatic.

        "I have driven two Vauxhalls: both unmemorable. And I have no personal issues with Vauxhall at all. I see them as nothing more or less than a maker, or badge, of bland middle-of-the-road cars, none of which would be missed."

        I don't find Vauxhall/Opels appealing to drive either, however the fact remains that they consistently hold a large part of the UK market behind Ford and VAG. And you obviously don't live in the UK or know much about the UK market.

        "Their percentage share of the shrinking UK market would immediately be filled by other makers, and nobody would notice their loss any more than they did that of Morris or Riley, or Austin or Wolsely for that matter."

        Rubbish. Absolute rubbish.

        "If GM, or somebody else, finds the badge to be economically viable that's fine by me, but let's not fool ourselves that Vauxhall is anything more than a badge on German engineered Opels."

        You're obviously fooled then. Because Opel and Vauxhall cars are actually GME products - they're not commissioned either by Vauxhall or Opel. Furthermore, plants across the UK and continental Europe produce these cars with Opel, Vauxhall and Chevrolet badges for various markets, as well as Holden badges in the past. Opel's facilities are merely used by GME for much of the engineering work in the product development. And given that Vauxhall commands such a large stake of the UK market, they are most likely to continue to be sold as such as the UK. Now, the typically ignorant North American may look at the UK and think it insignificant, but economically in global - and especially European - terms it isn't. The UK market is critical to GM and that's where GME products are badged Vauxhall. There would be no benefit whatsoever to switching to Opel in the UK.

        "As a make they have done nothing to move forward car design or engineering for decades, and for most of my life they were just shrunk down replicas of American cars, with none of the American wow factor."

        If American cars had wow factor then the three domestic US manufacturers wouldn't be in the mess they are now. Not one offers products with truly global appeal, and the one which offers most of its domestic product range globally is Chrysler - all of its three divisions offer many of its product range worldwide.

        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm British. When I was a kid Vauxhalls were Mini-Me GM cars, without the style imparted by the vast scale of the originals - and in the late 50s and 60s American cars were pretty amazing beasts - but this style did appeal to a certain constituency of buyers. And Opel/Vauxhall products are actually engineered in Europe, mostly by Europeans, but certainly by the same sort of international cross section of people who engineer pretty much all cars these days, in Europe at least. As far as I can remember most of the engineering/design is carried out in Germany. The fact that the parent company is GM doesn't mean the products are American designed, which you appear to imply.

        If they survive that's fine by me, I simply contend that the world can easily live without both.

        That'll do.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The JV between GME and Renault is pretty lucrative and has been in existence now for almost fifteen years.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well let's see, GME doesn't just include Opel/Vauxhall. The Chevrolet brand is the fastest-growing brand in Europe.

        So GM could sell Opel and rebadge its Chevys as Vauxhalls in the UK. They could do a LOT of things.

        But GM probably isn't going to sell 100% of Opel, so they'll still be able to offer common Opels and Vauxhalls.

        Vauxhall may be its own "company", but it's not so silo'd that it would cease to exist if GM ditched Opel. They'd just stick the Vauxhall badge on a GMDAT product. Or, they'd put more money into their UK operations and have Vauxhall develop its own vehicles again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Inline6 - GME consists of Opel, Vauxhall, Saab, Chevrolet Europe, and Cadillac/Chevrolet/Hummer imports formerly via Kroymanns. Chevrolet is a budget brand while Vauxhall/Opel are the mainstream line.

        Vauxhall Motors is a definitely company, and part of a group structure in the UK itself. Adam Opel GmbH is also a company. Both fall within the remit of GME, which develops the cars for Vauxhall and Opel. Commercial vehicles are produced via a JV with Renault, and Vauxhall contracts with Holden for its VXR8 line.

        Given Vauxhall's UK market share - some 13% behind Ford and VAG but ahead of PSA - it's no surprise that GM have stated their intention to keep it. GM's CEO Fritz Henderson today stated that the decision was made because the UK is their largest European market. He went on to say: “We have no interest in expanding Vauxhall beyond the UK and never had interest in changing Vauxhall in the UK.” At least for now.

        Haudit stated a viable possibility - that GME develops products at Vauxhall and subcontracts some of the product line to Opel, which would likely use Fiat platforms for its smaller products and GME/Vauxhall platforms for, say, C-segment and above - while at the same time, contracting out its R&D to Opel. There's a potential for a win-win here, and given that the Vauxhall and Opel lines are likely to once again diverge, a possibility of seeing Vauxhalls again on the continent and Opels again in the UK at some point.


        • 5 Years Ago
        I didn't imply anything of the sort. The engineering is carried out at Opel by GME, who commissions the vehicles to be developed. Vauxhall's parent UK group company is owned by GM.

        How you regard Vauxhall is one thing. Their market share is quite another.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think you guys might want to do sit back and do some critical thinking on that one. Every Vauxhall, except the VXR (Holden), is a right hand drive Opel. There is one GM factory in the UK and it makes the Astra. If they sell Opel and keep Vauxhall, they're not going to have any products for Vauxhall to sell.
        • 5 Years Ago
        One problem in splitting Opel from Vauxhall would be that Ellesmere Port is also home to an Engine Plant that supplies Opel with EcoTEC engines. (at least it was last time I was there).
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Bloke

        Vauxhall UK has no own real development.... in the Opel plant in Rüsselsheim Germany allone are working three time more employees than for complete Vauxhall UK...

        Vauxhall last own developt car dates back in the 1970´s ....

        GM´s second largest development center in the world is located in Rüsselsheim Germany there they develop ALL sub compact to midsize vehicles sold by all GM brands world wide (outside the USA)... only large vehicles are developt by Holden Australia
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is ridiculous.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't see how this could work since Vauxhall doesn't even have its own R&D; it is simply a UK Opel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GME has a design centre in Birmingham and an R&D/enginnering centre at Millbrook, used extensively by Vauxhall.
      • 5 Years Ago
      what a crap
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