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.


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  • 39 Comments
      Tuga
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just a couple of weeks ago there was a comment made by an Opel executive that all factorys were secure... untill 2014. With their tie up with PSA and now these news of restucturing, i wouldn't be the least bit surprised that there were in fact factory closures. Ellesmere Port ( UK ) and Bochum ( Germany ) seem to be the ones in danger.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tuga
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      • 2 Years Ago
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        • 2 Years Ago
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        • 2 Years Ago
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        aatbloke1967
        • 2 Years Ago
        Opel isn't mediocre - far from it - it just isn't anywhere near as interesting as it once was.
          Jerry
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          Opel is less that mediocre...
      brandon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wait, what???? You mean a company can restructure without closing plants? That's not what all the political pundits said when it was being discussed in the states. (Post dripping with sarcasm.) Analyst SAY, that it likely won't cost any plant closings. Not some dumba-- on tv, these are people who actually have their hand in business restructuring. But NOOOOO, we had to lose billions to save GM and Chrysler because they were surely going to go out of business if they had to restructure. (which ended up happening anyway.) I'm sure Hazdaz and others will probably give us some union line about how it was the only way they were to be saved.
      brian
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here's an idea: Sell the same cars as Opels & Vauxhalls in Europe as Chevy's elsewhere in the world rather than completely different models. It makes no sense to have a Spark in the US and Asia and a Corsa in Europe & Australia.
        Tuga
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brian
        The Spark and the Corsa are not in the same segment. The Corsa is the equivalent of the Sonic. Also, i believe that Holdens lineup is no longer Opel based, at least i know that the Cruze is already being sold as an Holden and not the Astra. The two brands side by side kinda makes sense, because GM wants people to see Opel as an aspirational brand, a premium option to Chevys entry level status. Unfortunately for GM, no one in Europe sees Opel as being aspirational. At all.
          Kai F. Lahmann
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Tuga
          The European market works different, the mainstream are mid-price models there. So you can go away from the mainstream into both directions: Brands like Chevy, Kia, Fiat, Skoda or Dacia to be cheaper and those like Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Lexus or Cadillac to have more luxury.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Tuga
          "Unfortunately for GM, no one in Europe sees Opel as being aspirational." Exactly, let alone premium. The last time Vauxhall and Opel were aspirational were when they competed with the Chevette 2200HSR and Ascona 400 in rallying. If I had to pick 20 cars ever produced to take to a desert island, that particular Ascona would be one of them. These days, Opel has absolutely nothing close to it.
        aatbloke1967
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brian
        "Sell the same cars as Opels & Vauxhalls in Europe as Chevy's elsewhere" They are sold as Chevrolets in Latin & South America and in some African countries. The GM-DAT products were originally intended as more of a "budget" line of products, although that gap has closed in recent years.
          Palandi
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          just like Holden, GM's Latin American branch replaced Opels with GM-DAT products. Opel cars are sold at select niche markets such as Chile and Argentina, with their own Opel badge, as GM really thinks these markets see Opel as an "aspirational" brand as well.
        Mr.Roadrage
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brian
        "Also, i believe that Holden's lineup is no longer Opel based." That's true, but Opel has now entered the Australian market as a separate brand.
      shigllgetcha
      • 2 Years Ago
      in my opinion opel cars look like bargain basement versions of the vauxhall equivilant. might sound daft but vxs seem better speced. I live in ireland which is an opel area and drive a vx because the spec available was much better when I was buying.
      aatbloke1967
      • 2 Years Ago
      Vauxhall/Opel's range of products in the 1970s and 1980s were interesting and certainly on a par with Ford of Europe at the time. These days, compared to Ford they're way off kilter. This transgression began in the mid 1990's with the Vectra B - the car was competent enough but completely underwhelming. By contrast, Ford's new-edge and kinetic design philosphies have only served to be more inspirational and stir the emotional aspect of buying a new car. The crucial C and D segment cars from Opel continue to disappoint. When the Insignia first debuted almost four years ago I said at the time it was handsome yet completely anonymous - in a Far Eastern manner of anonymity. I stand by that belief. It doesn't outclass the Mondeo, and not by a considerable margin. This is why I have always viewed the Buick Regal version as a pretentious joke, which will be highlighted even more succinctly next year when the Mondeo-based Fusion hits US showrooms.
      • 2 Years Ago
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        Jerry
        • 2 Years Ago
        Don't give up on Europe, but drop Opel
        timber
        • 2 Years Ago
        That's exactly for that reason that Ford cars are appreciated across Europe... Opel recent model suck (including price/engines/alround...) and so their sales reflect that. On the other end Chevrolets keep showing up on increasing numbers around here. GM strategy probably consist on letting Opel bleed to dead and replace it with Chevrolet
      Antonio K. Piech
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sergio ask to buy them and GM said no,that's it,end of the trouble......but just like any other joint that GM have,is going to fell,hope Peugeot don't mess Citroens cool and avant gard designs,miss my Saab's!!!!
        timber
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Antonio K. Piech
        Citroen has been a PSA brand for more than 30 years. Peugeot makes Citroen cool not the other way around.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder if this means that GM will sell Opel.
      Camaroman101
      • 2 Years Ago
      are all automakers struggling in europe or is it just gm's brands?
        Tuga
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Camaroman101
        Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen and Renault are all doing badly. The German luxury brands, VW, Hyundai/Kia and Nissan are doing just fine, or in some cases, growing.
        Kai F. Lahmann
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Camaroman101
        Well, GM looses in Germany, Austria and UK – solid markets. Fiat and the French just lose at home as everybody else does there but with smaller effect on the overall sales.
      Adhominem
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why all the hate?
      saurusmonster
      • 2 Years Ago
      Throughout the 90s I clearly remember Vauxhall cars being 3rd rate vehicles but people still bought them in large numbers. I think because most Brits think Vauxhall is a British car manufacturer, and there used to be alot of Vauxhall factories about. In the UK certain brands become trendy, in the mid 2000s everyone was buying Peugeot. I have since left the UK but from other people's comments it seems Vauxhall reliability, quality and pricing have not changed much.
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