• Nov 8, 2009
Just hours before General Motors announced that it wasn't going to sell Opel, GM Europe head Carl-Peter Forster said publicly that Opel would be better off under the control of Magna. Talk about bad timing. Now that GM is keeping Opel, Forster is out as the head of the General's European operations. A couple of familiar names will step in, at least on an interim basis.

Bloomberg reports that GM Vice Chairman and head of Marketing and Communications Bob Lutz is taking over as interim chairman of the Opel supervisory board until a permanent leader can be chosen. The bombastic Lutz has suddenly found himself with increasing responsibility after semi-retiring back in April. Fellow GM exec Nick Reilly will lead the Opel and Vauxhall units until a replacement can be found.

GM CEO Fritz Henderson said in a statement that the hunt is on for a new Opel CEO and that no other management moves were imminent. Henderson went on to say that Opel improved under Forster, which is a real compliment when you consider that Forster replaced Fritz as head of GM Europe back in 2004. Word on the street is that GM could pick a German executive for the Opel post, due mostly to the fact that Germany wasn't very happy about GM's decision to scuttle the sale to Magna. Magna's plan called for fewer layoffs within Germany and more in other European countries.

[Source: Bloomberg]


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  • 29 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz deserves credit for some of the best cars GM has launched in recent times. Malibu,G8,SolsticeSky,Camaro,Enclave,LaCrosse,CTS etc.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ...don't forget the Ford Sierra, Ford Explorer, BMW 3-Series, Dodge Viper, Chrysler PT Cruiser...
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Malibu is kinda blah in styling and driving dynamics in comparison to say an Altima. The G8 is gone bye-bye, same for the Sky/Solstice. The Camaro is oversized and over weight. The Enclave, LaCrosse and CTS are interesting cars and will do well. While it seems everybody is complementing GM for making some very good product these days, I would think twice about buying their products due to lack of dealer support in my area. GM shuttered 5 of 7 dealerships within my service area. The remaining dealers have a very poor service history with me and I will not be going back. It's not about the product but the service with me. The very best dealer service I have ever got is with the local Suzuki dealer.

        I wish Lutz well, but the German unions are very pissed about GM screwing Magna and will make GM's life hell in Germany.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Gotta love the way GM played this one out in making people believe they had real intent of selling OPEL and loose a foot hold in Europe lol...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I bet fraulein (sp) Merkel is pissed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wolfgang Bernhard might make a compelling leader for Opel, especially if you also make that position a key GM global one (like a GM board member, vice-chairman of the board or join Buick-Opel into one super-division, with Bernhard as it's global head).

      I don't agree that Opel & Buick shouldn't be joined at the hip; In fact, it could be argued that the previous global plan for Chevrolet-Opel would work nicely for Chevrolet-Buick in the U.S.

      The fact that key parts of Buick's product plan is tied to Opel (Regal, compact car) makes further consolidation even more of an opportunity. Do this, and you potentially reinvigorate Buick. Gotta focus Cadillac even more to make IT work, though... Maybe make it a basis for ultra-high performance police vehicles (not taxis), to build economies of scale, similar to what Luxury brands from Europe do in their home markets.
      • 5 Years Ago
      For the second time in one week very bad news for Opel! Lutz is part of the problem not of the solution.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yes, put a clueless dinosaur in charge. He did such a great job as exec at GM...you certainly want his fecal touch on another company.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lutz may be a blow-hard, but some of you are ignoring one important fact, the man gets things done.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They need to rename Opel and Vauxhall to Chevy to remind them who they work for then move most of the manufacturing out of Germany to other EU countries that are willing to work with GM.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You need to remember who came up with all the good ideas. German engineers. GM is simply rebadging Opels work. Anything with a Chevrolet badge on it, is considered FUBAR here in Europe.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lutz worked for BMW and Ford in Europe.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If Maximum Bob can handle all these duties, then this should work out to be another positive... after all, he is the one that is supposed to be the guy responsible for GM (USDM) cars, so being in charge of the European division that will be researching and developing much of the technology that will end up in our cars is a no-brainer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The last time the "superb, excellent" german management took over an American company, the Americans lost 8-10 billion in a couple of years and was then shucked. Does anyone remember? Put a north american in charge and make sure to watch the openings where money can pour out. Good luck Mr. Lutz.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No good has come out to either Americans or Germans for years. Leave Opel alone or bring over their stuff stateside not as buicks or caddys.. put up or shut up.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeap i agree leave Opel alone, GM is sinking ship will only take opel down with it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Dr. Greenthumb

        I may not have run a car company, but I do know how to read a balance sheet and income statement- losing $70 billion from 2007-2008 and having a net worth of NEGATIVE $86 billion is not just the result of an economic downturn. GM was a consistent money loser and created their own problems- you can't blame this all on Wall Street. From a business perspective, GM was on life support- the recession just pulled the plug.

        http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=MTLQQ.PK&annual
        http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bs?s=MTLQQ.PK&annual
        • 5 Years Ago
        What the hell are you talking about? How many car companies have you managed in the last 100 or so years? GM had its problems, the collapse was ultimately caused by the country's economic woes, which was (choose one) Greedily, Stupidly, Selfishly created by Wall St. They have this obsession with sending jobs overseas, now we see the result of their actions.

        P.S. The people that were fired, laid off etc. Are the customers to the companies that trade on the Street. No jobs = No money = No consumer spending = More Layoffs.

        The dog finally caught his tail, and bit it. Guess who felt the pain?

        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks to greenthumb for inserting some intelligence between two pieces of $*it.
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