Never fear, Opel fans. General Motors isn't sending the brand out to pasture. The European automaker is set to receive a massive $5.2 billion investment from GM between now and 2016 as part of a larger effort to solidify Opel as GM's design and manufacturing backbone in Europe. Opel plans to return to profitability by the middle of this decade under its DRIVE!2022 business plan, and the cash infusion from GM should help make that projection a reality. Even so, it may be some time before Opel is able to turn its fortunes around.

The automaker lost $1.8 billion last year, up from $700 million the year prior. Opel faces numerous challenges compounded by the fact that the European Union continues to be mired in economic slump. Even so, the new investment helps put rumors that GM had plans to sell Opel to bed. You can read the full press release on the funds below.
Show full PR text
GM to Invest 4 Billion Euros in Opel's Future through 2016

GM Board of Directors makes clear commitment to Opel

GM CEO Dan Akerson: "Opel has GM's full support"

Confirmation of "DRIVE!2022" plan for future

Piece of Berlin Wall as symbol of solidarity


Rüsselsheim. The General Motors (GM) Board of Directors used its meeting in Rüsselsheim to underscore its commitment to Opel and Germany. This commitment was also manifested in the approval of a comprehensive investment program: GM will invest 4 billion euros in Germany and Europe through 2016. "As a global automotive company GM needs a strong presence in Europe – in terms of design and development as well as manufacturing and sales," said Dan Akerson, Chairman and CEO of GM, at a press briefing at Adam Opel Haus. "Opel is a key to our success and enjoys its parent company's full support."

The Board of Directors chose Germany for a regularly scheduled meeting to get first-hand information on the progress on its 10-year strategy DRIVE!2022 and the challenging European automotive environment. The Board also used this opportunity to meet with economists, unionists and politicians.

In addition to Akerson, Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, Supervisory Board Chairman Steve Girsky and Works Council Chairman Dr. Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug also spoke at today's press conference in Rüsselsheim. The Board of Directors welcomed the guests of honor Minister President of Hesse Volker Bouffier, the American Ambassador Phil Murphy as well as Rüsselsheim Mayor Patrick Burghardt, who brought the city's Guest Book for the visitors to sign.

Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO of Adam Opel AG, emphasized that it is a great honor for Opel to be able to host the GM Board: "This Board has once again made very clear that our 10-year plan DRIVE!2022, that foresees our return to profitability by the middle of the decade, has our parent company's complete support." A large part of the investments are going into the Opel model offensive. Through 2016, Opel will introduce 23 new models and 13 new powertrains.

Opel Supervisory Board Chairman Steve Girsky said, "The Board of Directors is here to underline its solidarity and support. Opel has been part of GM since 1929 and is today more than ever a decisive element for the entire company's innovative power. This partnership is stronger than it has ever been."

Following the press briefing Dan Akerson revealed a piece of the Berlin Wall that belongs to Opel and will be placed in front of the Adam Opel Haus on Friedrich-Lutzmann-Ring. "This piece of the wall is a symbol of our corporate culture," said CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. "The symbol should remind everyone that we overcome any walls in our heads and those between different cultures and that we are now starting a new chapter in the history of Opel."


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  • 48 Comments
      Denster
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm confused. GM is spending money hand over fist to make inroads in Europe with the Chevrolet brand, and now they're pumping $5 billion into troubled Opel, whose sales have likely been cannibalized by the presence of Chevrolet in the first place. It would seem that positioning Chevrolet as the value brand in Europe might be contributing to Opel's demise. Not to mention, they already share many platforms and components. Opel products are considered premium models for Buick in the US, but does that mean moving Opel upmarket in Europe will be effective? GM is creating the same brand identity problems in Europe that brought it to bankruptcy here in the US, and you can still argue the existence of Buick in the US market, aside from it's large presence in China.
      Jimmy
      • 1 Year Ago
      It doesn't make sense. Europe's population is declining. In 50 years you are looking at 25% less people living there. I would not spend the money. The car buying population is shrinking every year, the taxes are high, you can't close unprofitable plants. I would close it and ship Chevy and Cadillacs there
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      What happened to their plans to close a plant in Germany?
      gilead82
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have 3 words... Retro Kadett Diesel. How cool would that be? Or a new Opel GT based on the Solstice/Sky platform? But seriously, it makes sense. They've relied so heavily on them for product designs over the past 20 yrs it'd be foolish not to. I'll go one step further and suggest they be put in charge of small car development across the board. GM's US divisions have never seemed to get the small car eg: Vega, Chevette, Citation, Cobalt. Aside from the Cavalier it's a who's who of the worlds worst small cars. Maybe this'll help get 'em straightened out.
        Jerry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @gilead82
        The Kadett was one of the biggest pieces of **** ever sold in the US market! Back when Buicks were built well, the Kadetts sold at their dealerships were a blessing in disguise. They made the dealers mountains of cash in service repairs. It made the Vega look like a rock solid car...
      • 1 Year Ago
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      Joe
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well at least the Federal Government is broadining its portfolio by investing in foreign makes!
      wrascil
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think what they really meant to say was the American tax-payers just loaned opel 5.2 billion
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wouldn't it be easier to put the $5.2B in a pile and have a bonfire? If there is any movement to introduce the 'Chevrolet' brand in Europe as a replacement for Opel, it seems like this 'double-down' timeframe would be a good time to announce it.
        mbukukanyau
        • 1 Year Ago
        @The Wasp
        Not happening.
        riserburn99andre
        • 1 Year Ago
        @The Wasp
        Why not invest in it and make it into an Audi fighter? Buick, Holden and Opel can all share a similar design theme with small differences within each and be upmarket of Chevy. They can also take on FWD/AWD luxury while Caddy can do battle with Mercedes, BMW and even push more upmarket and make some limited runs against RR and Bentley. I say there is room in the autoworld for Opel
          Eta Carinae
          • 1 Year Ago
          @riserburn99andre
          uh, that is what cadillac is for.....opel is like Gm's chevy for europe....this is there shoo in
          Pdexter
          • 1 Year Ago
          @riserburn99andre
          Sure if they make Opel a total engineering house for GM (like it already is), though if they wanna rise Opel in Europe, as brand to compete against BMW, Audi and Merc, that will need bucket loads of more money and huge changes inside the company. Would be something similar to what VW did to Skoda brand in 4-6 years in Europe.
          Jerry
          • 1 Year Ago
          @riserburn99andre
          Right on Pdexter!
      Jennifer
      • 1 Year Ago
      OMG this means we'll have to bail out GMC because of this bad investment.
      Casey Jensen
      • 1 Year Ago
      I always thought it was pretty comical when analysts would insist that Opel should be shut down for the purpose of making GM more profitable. Many of the platforms GM's cars use here are shared derived from Opel.
      • 1 Year Ago
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      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can't help thinking of the line, "Throwing good money after bad"
        • 1 Year Ago
        @throwback
        [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        @throwback
        [blocked]
          Jerry
          • 1 Year Ago
          Blah blah blah Opel has been saying that for 13 years straight... No change in internal culture, product quality, etc. and they will keep burning cash. They would have dried up a died years ago had they not been suckling on GM's golden teet all these years.
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