Opel dealership

General Motors is having a hard time nailing down its European operations. The automaker reported its first-quarter earnings slid by $1 billion, down from $3.2 billion in the first quarter of last year. The drop was partially attributable to a one-time loss that included changes in accounting for the automaker's European pensions.

While GM earned $1.69 billion in North American before taxes, Opel lost $246 million in the first quarter. Surprisingly, that marks the second best quarter for the automaker in a year. Even so, GM CEO Dan Akerson said that the manufacturer's European operations are headed for substantial revision.

Akerson said the situation is a "four-alarm fire" while speaking during a public radio interview. The executive declined to elaborate on any plans to help stem Opel's losses beyond saying "We're going to have to restructure again."

In 2011, GM lost $747 million on its European operations, and with the looming debt crisis continuing to undermine consumer confidence in the EU, the company is desperate to ward off a repeat performance. Analysts believe that yet another restructuring will be a lengthy, drawn-out process, but likely won't result in any actual plant closings.