• Jul 14, 2011
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has apparently ruffled some feathers at General Motors. The American automaker took the time to release a scornful statement about the VW executive's comments toward the beleaguered Eureopean brand, Opel. Apparently, Winterkorn took the time to comment on what he believes the brand faces in the near future while speaking with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, fuelling speculation that Opel is in dire straits and that a sale may be on the horizon. GM shot back by saying that VW is simply nervous about the launch of the Ampera in Europe, and that the automaker is simply trying to sabotage the Opel recovery.

Them's fightin' words.

GM says that due to the strong positive response that the Ampera has garnered so far, the company is now planning to crank out an additional Ampera models to satiate demand. Additionally, the statement makes it clear that Opel is an important part of the GM flock and that the brand isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Hit the jump to check out the official statement for yourself.
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GM Statement in Response to VW Comments on Opel

2011-07-13

The following statement may be attributed to General Motors Co., in response to comments by Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn regarding Opel.

DETROIT – General Motors has a longstanding policy of not commenting on rumors and speculation. Unfortunately, some of our competitors do not show similar restraint.

In Wednesday's edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn commented on rumors regarding Opel, which continues a regrettable pattern of fanning speculation as Opel makes solid progress in its restructuring, in generating improved operating results and more.
In this case, it was timed to the incredibly positive media reaction to the groundbreaking Opel Ampera extended-range electric vehicle, which has been hailed as "a stroke of genius," "the start of a new era," and as a leading industry expert said, places Opel three years ahead of VW.

Because of such enthusiastic reviews and strong customer demand, Opel is ordering an additional 2,000 Amperas for the European market next year.

Opel has been part of the GM family since 1928 and remains important to the company. GM is pleased with Opel's solid progress over the last year in turning around its business, and the company continues to invest in outstanding products for the European market, as the Ampera shows.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      S C
      • 3 Years Ago
      So...GM CEO "Lt Dan" Akerson can make snide comments about his competition...(recently stated the Ford should sprinkle holy water on Lincoln...because it is dead.) but if someone talks smack about one of HIS divisions, he gets pissed?? To para-phrase the movie "Stripes".... "Lighten up Francis...."
        Carlos Cruz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @S C
        True... but Lincoln is dead though, all the Lincoln dealerships where I live have either closed, or moved into a small corner of a Ford dealer. I'm thinking Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz really beat it.
          DrEvil
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Carlos Cruz
          Here is a funny Cadillac / Lincoln story. There is this new TV series "Necessary Roughness", In the season opener (Pilot) one of the mysterious characters was rolling in this sweeet black CTS-V. So, the scene ended with a super close-up of the Caddy's mesh grille & logo, and then cuts to a commercial. The commercial was for a Lincoln MKZ, what a downer. As if that wasn't funny enough, it looks like Lincoln was unhappy with sexy Caddy being featured in a show that they sponsored, the same character (former Navy SEAL) now has to drive a black MKS. They just showed him getting out of the car, but didn't show the entire car. I guess they didn't think the stupid viewers would notice the switch.
      John G
      • 3 Years Ago
      "GM shot back by saying that VW is simply nervous about the launch of the Ampera in Europe" I seriously doubt that VW are nervous about the release of a single plug-in hybrid electric vehicle into a market dominated by diesel sales. There is not much interest in hybrid vehicles in Europe as long as the diesels can match their fuel economy. A diesel electric is what they are waiting for.
        brian
        • 3 Years Ago
        @John G
        Indeed - Many Europeans live in apartments in large cities where there's no place to plug in car... ...and they often take public transit to work, leaving the car as something that is taken out only on weekends and for errands - making a plug-in hybrid rather pointless, particularly when a nice Golf TDI or Peugeot 308 can be had for far less. And when you consider that European governments there aren't subsidizing hybrids with tax incentives or special commuter lane access, it makes the value proposition even less favororable for Volt/Ampera
          JR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @brian
          Other factors in Europe - People don't drive as far on each trip since they tend to live closer to where they shop and work. Currently, they're paying the equivalent of $8.40 per gallon of gas (3.8 l / gal, $1.44 / Euro, 1.55 Euro / l). Both of those factors can make the Ampera viable. It depends on their driving habits.
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      VW executives are the last people that should be talking trash.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      Germans can be such pricks sometimes.
      Carlos Cruz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, I know at least 1 reason why GM shouldn't sell Opel. Most of their small sedans, and some of their midsize lineup in the US are just old Opel vehicles branded as Chevy or Buick. The Chevy Cruze was sold in the EU for a couple of years before it ever came to the USA, as did the Buick Regal. I'm guessing since Detroit cant build much other than super sized vehicles, and foreign brands dont build much of those, they can just build those in house, while they let their companies from overseas build a product that can actually compete here. One good example come to mind Chevy Cobalt (US design)-complete crap replaced with Chevy Cruze (German Design by Opel)- Great car, sales are great too!
        lne937s
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Carlos Cruz
        you actually have that a little confused. the Cobalt was on the Delta I platform developed in Germany, with styling from the US. It was also the platform for the Saturn Ion. When they started platform development for the replacement Delta II platform (which is loosely derrived from the Delta I developed in Europe), GM went to Korea for development. All the Cruzes you see in Europe were designed and built in Korea.
          Carlos Cruz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          Just a note... I did personally drive a Chevy Cobalt for 3 very very sad weeks. I hated it's cheap interiors, horrible fit and finish, flimsy manufacturing, horrible suspension and steering, and noisy interior. I did however though really like the radio (not the speakers, just the ease of use and design of the radio)
          Carlos Cruz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          After some research, I did find that the Delta I platform was engineered by Opel (It sucked anyways), the Cruze (and subsequently the Delta II platform) was also engineered by Opel. GM Daewoo simply designed the car (Body, etc) "The Cruze was engineered at GM’s Russelsheim, Germany, development center, and was designed in Korea by GM Daewoo. The car will be assembled in plants around the world, including the U.S. and Mexico, various parts of Europe including Russia (GM is building a new plant in St. Petersburg), South Korea, and Brazil." http://www.caranddriver.com/news/car/08q3/2011_chevrolet_cruze-car_news
      Georg
      • 3 Years Ago
      Opel´s real problem is their shitty model lineup, the only good cars they currently have are the Insignia and Astra, the rest is pure ****... mostly mini MPV Meriva, Agila, Zafira, Corsa They have no SUV (the fastest growing car segment in europen largest single market) no mini SUV, no sport car, no Coupe, no pick up, no large sedan, no luxury sedan.
        angelo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Georg
        Regarding the Insignia, I have driven a brand new one for 2 weeks, for about 2000 miles and I was not impressed: The ride is very hard, you feel every little stone on the road, especially at low speeds. This could be "sporty" but the rest of the car should handle "sporty" as well then, but it doesn't. The engine, a 2 ltr Tdi, is a fine one and the mileage is great, but there is a huge turbo gap. When taking over you really notice it, huge. The gears are so stretched that I never used the 6th gear, since it meant downshifting to 4th, sometimes 3rd (!) to overtake on smaller roads, very unpleasant. And then the electronics... headlights that switch on automatically after 2 seconds in a tunnel.. great... but they take sometimes up to 20 minutes to switch of again.. in broad daylight! making the sat nav completely invisible as it switches to night view every time. That is, if the Sat Nav (and the rest of the entertainment system) works, because it most of the time, it didn't or would restart constantly for about 30 minutes and then maybe it would work. The sound quality is good btw. The input knob for the sat nav is placed between the central armrest and the shifter, during the whole trip I would hit it by mistake at least 3 times per hour... When I opened the tank the first time, the whole cover came off, the roof rack rail was rattling all the time, constant wind noise as if a window was slightly open in the back, door trim came off several times... All in all the worst car I have driven in the last 10 years. And Opel advertises this car as the best they ever made?!?!?!
      Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      Opel/Vauxhall may be a bruised, but they're not done yet. Through May, Opel/Vauxhall sales are up 6% over last year (VW up 8%). Opel and VW are both German brands that sell best in Germany, and VW wants to put the nail in their coffin for good. Who's down? Peugeot -6%, Renault -8%, Ford -7%, Fiat -14% (ouch!). Western Europe is not a growth market, in order to increase sales other companies must fall. VW is planting stories about Opel and kicking them while they're down.
        Georg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike
        the true europen numbers 1half 2011 compared to 1.half 2010 1. VW +5.8% 2. Ford -6.6% 3. Renault -11.7% 4. Opel +2.1% 5. Peugeot -7.9% 6. Citroen -6.9% 7. Fiat -18.2% 8. Audi +8.4% 9. BMW +7.9% 10. Mercedes +0.6% 11. Toyota -10.9% 12. Nissan +15.2% 13. Skoda +9.3% 14. Hyundai +9.1% 15. Seat -0.1% 16. Volvo +12.2% 17. Kia -1.8% 18. Dacia +7.8% 19. Suzuki -7.8% 20, Mini +20.6% Western europen market can grow and decrease, national problems have huge effect on cars sold in single nations... Europen car sale ranking 1. half 2011 1. Germany 1.6million +10.5% 2. France 1.2million +1.2% 3. UK 1million -7.1% 4. Italy 1million -13.3% 5. Spain 442,000 -26.8% 6. Netherlands 329,000 +21.7% 7. Belgium 326,000 +2.0% 8. Austria 188,000 +10.7% 9. Swiss 158,000 +6.0% 10. Sweden 157,000 +13.7% . . . . 16. Greece 55,000 -43.9% together 7million cars -2.1% The financel problems of the south europen nations greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal plus the problems in the UK are currently the reason why the europen market is not growning
      JasonERF
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't believe the press release omitted any mention of WWII or Hitler.
      Georg
      • 3 Years Ago
      VW don´t need to fear Opel or any car from Opel... GM has destroyed Opel by semself... their marktshare went down from over 20% and more than one million cars sold in Germany in the late 80´s early 90´s to 7% in 2011...
      Redline
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good to see the Opel vs VW fight going to such high levels.
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