General Motors has reorganized its design management again, the second such shakeup in the last year. Mark Adams, who currently serves as the company's executive director of global Cadillac and Buick design is headed back to Europe to take over as vice president of design for GM Europe. According to Automotive News, the move is the first step in a plan to sort out a plan for the future of Buick and Opel, both in terms of strategy and design language. Andrew Smith will take over Adams' old positi
The European financial crisis has claimed another victim, as Opel has stated that it is going to close its Bochum, Germany facility. The closure is set to occur in 2016, when the current Opel Zafira minivan ends its production run. According to Automotive News Europe, parent company General Motors is looking to minimize the impact to the 3,300-strong workforce by adapting the plant to focus on component and distribution efforts.
The economic turmoil, lack of consumer confidence and howls for "More austerity!" in Europe have delivered a UFC-like beating to every automaker's books. And with some analysts still wondering if the current euro zone will even survive, it is obvious that it won't be over soon. But is that a reason for both General Motors and Ford to stop doing business on the continent, as Automotive News Editor-in-Chief for Europe Luca Ciferri has written?
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.
We record Episode #281 of the Autoblog Podcast tonight, meaning you can drop us your questions via our Q&A module below and chime in to direct our conversation. Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so, and if you want to take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson plans to invade Europe, and he's bringing Chevrolet with him. Sure, the Bowtie brand has been available across the pond since 2005, but its cars aren't exactly selling in droves. The head of GM has big plans for his European automotive umbrella, which means changes are coming.
2011 Chevrolet Cruze - click above for high-res image gallery
General Motors' bouleversement on the sale of its Opel brand has caused the European head of Opel vacate his office, the head of Opel labor to gulp "a bottle of wine" to get over the shock, the German head of state to request "GM to present a reliable plan for Opel quickly," and Germany's economic minister to prod GM to pay back the rest of the €1.5 billion ($2.25B U.S.) bridge loan.
German magazine Der Spiegel is reporting this morning that Opel President Carl-Peter Forster has resigned from General Motors following the board's decision to kill the sale of a majority stake to Magna International. Apparently, Forster was disgusted at the way that GM officials handled the whole process. Over the past several months, GM went back-and-forth, first agreeing to sell to Magna, then opting for another bid before returning to Magna, only to finally kill the deal altogether and keep
It was an exhausting 7-month process that finally winnowed down a pool of suitors for Opel, General Motors' European subsidiary, to Canadian parts maker Magna and Russian bank Sberbank. The deal was all set to go through, but GM pulled the plug yesterday at the 11th hour, claiming that because of Europe's improving markets and its own better-than-expected financial footing, the automaker could do better for Opel and employees than any of its proposed buyers.
Over on General Motors' Europe "Driving Conversations" blog, VP John Smith has posted an update on the company's negotiations to sell a majority stake in Opel and Vauxhall. Although no final decision has been made yet, it's looking increasingly likely that the previous tentative agreement with Magna International may be usurped by a bid from RHJ International. This, despite the fact that the German government has been favoring the Magna bid because of the suppliers commitment to preserving jobs
With General Motors expected to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York on Monday morning, negotiators in Germany scrambled to finalize a deal to save Opel from insolvency. Following a six-hour meeting in the German Chancellor's office in Berlin on Friday evening, a deal was finally announced by finance minister Peer Steinbrueck. Although an overall deal to transfer control of Opel from General Motors was reached, details are still being worked out and a final contract won't be sig
On Sunday, the Financial Times reported Fiat was in the process of negotiating a deal with General Motors' European operations to take a stake in Opel, Vauxhall and Saab. Although both Fiat and its CEO, Sergio Marchionne, have confirmed talks are ongoing to acquire GM Europe while working on its partnership with Chrysler, according to Saab CEO Jan-Ake Jonsson, the Swedish automaker isn't part of the deal.
Apparently, Fiat's alliance with Chrysler is only the beginning. According to a variety of reports coming out of the UK and Germany, the Italian automaker's expansion plans aren't limited to its 20% stake in Chrysler – Fiat is also considering acquiring General Motors' European operations, including Opel, Vauxhall and even Saab.
If Opel makes it out of the General Motors era alive, its dealers want a bigger say in its recovery as an independent automaker. And by a bigger say, they mean taking a 20% stake in the company – and along with it, a new CEO. One of the candidates being touted as a potential new chief executive for a resurgent, independent Opel is none other than Bernd Pischetsrieder.
Just as Saab and Saturn find their futures uncertain as General Motors tries to unload as much liability as possible, so do the automaker's European brands: Opel and its counterpart in the UK, Vauxhall. Europeans, however, have a different way of dealing with the finality of job loss than we Americans do. Where we Yanks might be more inclined to form a picket line and solicit honks of support from people driving by, Europeans like to get out on the street and protest... en masse. So on the same