Vauxhall and Opel will not be sold off by GM

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

America’s biggest motor manufacturer, General Motors, performed an abrupt U-turn [and has decided] to keep its European car manufacturing division, abandoning a proposed sale of Germany’s Opel and Britain’s Vauxhall brands at the eleventh hour.

Emboldened by encouraging global sales figures, GM’s directors emerged from a meeting of the company’s 13-strong board in Detroit to announce that an improvement in the European business environment had prompted them to change their minds about offloading the business, which employs 55,000 people, including 5,000 in Britain.

Instead of selling the operation to the Canadian car parts firm Magna, GM intends to spend €3 billion on restructuring the division “in earnest” – a process still likely to involve government aid and that may yet lead to significant job cuts…

“While strained, the business environment in Europe has improved,” said GM’s chief executive, Fritz Henderson. “At the same time, GM’s overall financial health and stability have improved significantly over the past months, giving us confidence that the European business can be successfully restructured…”

“We understand the complexity and length of this issue has been draining for all involved,” said Henderson. “However, from the outset, our goal has been to secure the best long-term solution for our customers, employees, suppliers and dealers, which is reflected in the decision reached today…”

Monthly sales figures released earlier yesterday provided an indication that business was improving. GM’s US car sales in October were up 4% in comparison with the same month in 2008 – the first year-on-year rise since January last year.

As a lifetime motorhead, I’ve spent an appropriate amount of time pointing out what I liked and disliked about GM. Aside from Zora Arkus-Duntov there hasn’t been much initiated in Detroit I found worthwhile. The Euro divisions were an occasional bright spot – even when they were prevented by the home office from offering much of anything new.

The good folks at gm-volt.com tweaked some discussion here [sorry, offline discussion] when they posted about Frank Weber leaving Volt and returning to Opel just the other day. I admit that none of us figured out this good news was coming. My guess is that he was shipped over to prep folks for the policy change.

None of this will be easy; but, I’m not the sort of critic who wishes the object of my criticism to fail.

7 thoughts on “Vauxhall and Opel will not be sold off by GM

  1. erica s says:

    Luton deserves a business as mediocre as Vauxhall. Perhaps the folks living and working there deserve better.

    What do I know? Perhaps General Motors will survive.

  2. god says:

    Interesting and contradictory reaction: Brits are pleased, Germans are whining and grumpy.

    Apparently, grassroots workers and politicians in Germany had settled on the Magna purchase. So, they are affronted. Though it appears the EU wasn’t going along with the plan, anyway.

    Brits are happy to still have a chance at a job, though that isn’t guaranteed.

  3. gordeecampbell says:

    GM needs a GPS in order to navigate through the EU. NAFTA is different. Unlike NATO, or the UN, MI could have turned a profit. The GDR knows this. Thats why they cry foul. The USA cheers, the rests of the world goes LOL. GM is FU.

      • gordeecampbell says:

        No. There are no true Campbells on PEI. According to my sources, they were immigrant Irishmen looking to change their McDermott name, to a legitimate respected surname.

        The Campbell ancestors came from Saskatchewan, Arkansas, Kansas, Argyle.

          • gordeecampbell says:

            Yea, I was jes kiddin… From what I understand is that a lot of the Scots in the Maritimes were from the Clearances. That means one of the highland branches such as those from Breadalbane.

            My Great Grandfather Campbell like the other Argyles were from the Campbelltown area. They were townsfolk. They were taking advantage of the free land in the American and Canadian west under the various Homestead Acts.

            You actually can often tell the difference. The Highland part of the Clan and those of the Irish were Catholic, and the Argleshire was Scottish Presbyterian often converting to Methodist after crossing the pond.

            MacDermott (Dairmid) is the Campbell clans Irish name. Or is the Scottish name of the MacDermotts actually Cambieul or Campbell. Originally we were a subclan of ONeall.

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