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Europe is a mess. The French auto industry is doing its best imitation of 1980s-era Flint, Michigan, Mitsubishi just sold an assembly plant for a single euro and pundits are calling for Ford and General Motors to just bail on the whole continent, where sales are dropping at an alarming rate.


Opel has stretched the patience of its parent General Motors and the ever-watchful financial markets are gazing upon the loss-making brand with a jaundiced eye. On Thursday, Opel management is expected to put forth a plan that provides a path to shrinking billions of dollars in losses while also increasing productivity. At the same time, the European car market is expected to tumble further throughout 2012.


2011 Chevrolet Cruze - click above for high-res image gallery


The protests are said to potentially impact the launch of the Opel Corsa, a subcompact product that is key to GM's European model line-up. GM workers in Western Europe are said to be deeply concerned about the potential for their assembly jobs moving to lower-cost sites towards the east, and GM has also stated that it will be bringing over additional product from South Korea.  

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