GM looking to cut Opel/Vauxhall loose

Posted by Tom Ford at 6:00 pm on Wednesday March 4, 2009

Fritz Henderson, GM’s Chief Operating Officer, has announced plans to split Opel and Vauxhall into a separate division that can then be opened up for outside investment. GM has also announced that it is looking for £2.9 billion in state aid from countries across Europe to keep the various operations afloat, or risk losing some 300,000 jobs from across the GM portfolio. The real kicker? It needs to happen before April.

Apparently GM is in talks with the Governments of Britain, Germany, Spain and Belgium – though there’s no big rush to hand over the cash from anyone at the moment, even if GM then takes a complete back seat and becomes a minority shareholder.

If there’s light at the end of the tunnel for the UK its that Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant has been described as one of GM’s ‘leaner factories’ indicating that it might not be for the chop. But the future is not looking particularly bright.

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  1. PetrolHead247 said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:15 am Link to comment Report comment

    Thats another stupid decision from GM. Opel and Vauxhall are ‘technically’ the same company. they make the same cars, the only difference is that Vauxhall sell cars in the UK and Opel sell cars to the rest of europe.
    Another argument from me is that if GM is going to split Vauxhall and Opel what will happen to Holden?

  2. A.Hitler said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:15 am Link to comment Report comment

    Gotta disagree on that – Vauxhall have always been compromised by an iffy reputation & shoddy products – Opel will survive selling cars to Europe & Vauxhall will die a lingering death just like Rover – they may even end up with a pitiful management buyout but the Government will let them go just as surely – no money left after the ongoing bank bail out fiasco & there aren’t many ministers or politicians who have heavily invested in the car industry – As for Holden they may get sold off, but they have a number of products unique to themselves & a strong home market with government support – so should do OK in the long run.
As usual our government will take a short term view & spunk a load of jobs in the remaining manufacturing base away (not many labour voters down south anyway)

  3. PetrolHead247 said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:15 am Link to comment Report comment

    @A.Hitler – Vauxhall will probably survive, they will most likely be brought by the likes of VW or BMW, but if they are not brought they will not survive. As for Holden they have good car sales in australia (the aussies love their V8’s). Also if vauxhall die then say goodbye to my favorite super-saloon, the VXR8
    P.S. Tom are you an aussie? because you like V8’s just like most aussie

  4. LT said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:16 am Link to comment Report comment

    Over the last couple of years Vauxhall seemingly have went from the shunned to the loved judging by how many of the damn things are on the streets these days. They don’t look too bad either.
    As for the V8 love, Us Brits need to give it more love so we can get a decent selection of V8’s on the market (You listening Ford, GM? Get your damned V8 monsters into UK dealerships.)

  5. Wyvern said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:16 am Link to comment Report comment

    Given the mess GM is in, I’m not at all surprised that they’ve turned their attention to scaling down in Europe. Presumably by opening up the Vauxhall/Opel group to outside investment, they’re seeking to eventually offload the brands. If that happens, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Vauxhall vanish; with demand running at the level it presently is, no matter how ‘lean’ Ellesmere Port is, if operations need to be downsized, it will probably make more sense to base everything in mainland Europe, with Vauxhall quietly slipping away in favour of Opel. And yes, job losses, especially in a difficult economic climate, are sad, but if the company is knackered beyond help (and obviously, I haven’t seen their books, so I wouldn’t know), a government bailout won’t save it, and nor should it. They can’t keep throwing limited resources into the pit of failing industries. I think it’s pretty obvious by now that it’s impossible to buy a quick fix to current economic woes.
    And no, I’m not unaware of the irony in a ‘Wyvern’ speculating on whether Vauxhall has had its day

  6. Paul said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:17 am Link to comment Report comment

    @A.Hitler have you not seen any of vauxhalls modern cars? there’s a reason you cant going anywhere without seeing them they have improved hugely.

  7. Mikeado said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:17 am Link to comment Report comment

    Uh oh, A.Hitler’s got Clarkson Syndrome*. Lots of people buy Vauxhalls. Women and students get Astras & Corsas, mid-aged men buy Insignias, mums (and probably students again) buy Zafiras.
    Just because GM wiped away Vauxhall’s identity like they did to Saab – and probably Opel and Holden – doesn’t mean it is mothing more than a badge. We just need another Dave Richards/Ulrich Bez to buy/run a British name arguably ruined by yanks and keep it alive/ bring it up to strength.
    *When someone believes whatever JC says to be undeniable fact.

  8. Barbie H. said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to comment Report comment

    vell za badge vill have to go, replace it wiz opel´s and mark my vords we´ll sell millions…

  9. Showie said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to comment Report comment

    to Petrolhead247, the VXR8 will survive but not under the same name and it will have to be imported from down here, it will go by the name Clubsport, Clubsport R8 or GTS like GM-Holden call it, also being badged as a Holden. i’m not sure how many people would be willing to spend the money to get it imported when they can just buy a Merc, Jag or BMW with what would probably end up being only a little bit more cash given the Clubbie/GTS would have to be imported in smaller numbers than when Vauxhall were/are importing them, that and the BMW M3/M5 are technically more advanced and far far better cars.
you guys should try out the Ford Performance Vehicles built F6, its an inline 6 turbo which eats the aussie 8’s every day of the week.. not much of a looker i don’t think though, google it (FPV F6) its worth a squizz

  10. W.Churchill said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:19 am Link to comment Report comment

    Petrolhead247 – you really ought to learn to spell – it’s bought, not brought – seriously though without being pedantic we don’t live in a country suited to big V8’s or similar – we have cars which comply with a need to corner with alacrity – & we get them to go just as fast with smaller engines – & have you been in an Australian or American car – the fit & finish is truly bloody awful when new & they last about 6 months before they start falling apart. Emotionally the big V8 has a place in all of our hearts, but repeated attempts to introduce them meat with limited sucess because Europeans stick to what they do best – quality little packages which go like stink – they tend to last very well too – instead of looking over the water & dreaming be thankful we don’t have to drive the hateful shite that our colonial cousins have to endure!

  11. GC said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:19 am Link to comment Report comment

    So they’re trying to get rid of Opel, which actually made a profit last year, and yet they’ve committed to Saturn for the remainder of the current range’s life cycle, which means importing Astras for at least the next two years despite them only achieving 30% of their projected sales in 2008. Somebody buy these half-wits a calculator.

  12. Alsy said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to comment Report comment

    When GM break up & cut loose all of the itinerant car makers they have hoovered up in recent years a few will go to the wall – the remains will begin to go back to their roots. SAAB will make distinctive cars which will not be rebodied Vectra’s or similar – OPEL cut loose of the yanks will drift back to a middle market position & make cars which will compete with Ford & Volkswagen on an even footing. Vauxhall will struggle on a while & finally expire in a hash of tarted up outdated cars just like Rover did – the upside is not all cars will come from the same family & so have different dynamics – However if the Gov under thicko Brown don’t ease the tax burden on middle income earners all car makers wil flounder as nobody will be willing or able to buy a new car – the fleet market can’t support the whole car industry by itself! I e-mailed A.Darling about this, but obviously he did not have the decency to respond

  13. IAmNotTheStig said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to comment Report comment

    The Vauxhall badge will sure disapear…but only to be replaced by Opel.
    GM is giving away Opel? Thats like VW giving away Audi…
    C’mon… It makes no sense to give away something that is profitable…or does it?

  14. Xav said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to comment Report comment

    I’m confused. Opel models are sold under the Vauxhall badge in the UK, Saturn in North America, Chevrolet in South America (different from the european “Chevrolet”) and some are even sold under the Holden badge in Oz. What’s going to happen to those companies? Will they have to start developing they own models or will they disapear into the night (except for Holden)?
    Also I was under the impression Opel was (very) profitable, why would GM get rid of it? Makes no sense, the whole ship is sinking and they get rid of their lifeboat?!?

  15. HunterZero said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:21 am Link to comment Report comment

    Holden’s product lineup has diverged greatly from Vauxhall. Holden has mostly changed its line-up in Australia to rebadged Korean sourced Daewoos, after GM acquired them. About the only European sourced cars offered by Holden are the Astra, and the Corsa minivan (as the Combo). Aussies it seems don’t love their V8s any more, the V8s are very low volume. Most people stick with the standard V6. Holden still sell lots of Commodores because they’re usually sold to fleet buyers, but they don’t sell as well with private buyers who are now after smaller cars like Corollas and Mazda 3s which rule the market. Even so, Holden Australia’s in dire straits. They’re stopping Australian production for 10 days due to the reduced demand.

  16. Stig's Irish Cousin said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:21 am Link to comment Report comment

    Over here in Ireland we have Opels and in the North and the rest of the UK they have Vauxhalls. I always believed that this was because the British didn’t want to buy what they thought was a German car called Opel due to the small matter of some wars and so they rebadged it with a patriotic and victorious looking Griffon. Essentially the cars are exactly the same, many people import the Vauxhalls into Ireland to get over our daft car tax situation and often there were more sporty models introduced in the UK and these get imported too. All I can see GM saving on if they split them is the badges, is it worth it? No one is going to want to invest in a car company like Vauxhall when another car company Opel has exactly the same cars! Where is the point in that?! So if it does happen the most sensible thing would be to keep the Opel give them all new merchandising and badges in the Ellesmere Port Plant and you Brits just buy something German, it won’t hurt you even James May quite likes them and you have enough Mercs Beemers and Audis anyway.

  17. ???????? said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:21 am Link to comment Report comment

    I would interpret the original article in a different manner to the previous posts. I understand it as Opel & Vauxhall (as a collective body) being split from GM. The two will remain as a single entity and would not therefore compete with each other.

  18. Obelix said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to comment Report comment

    I agree with “?” guy. I think you all didn’t read text above well. Try again lol.

  19. mor1matt said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to comment Report comment

    if no country buys them out? and opel and vauxhall go! then i want holden to come over and bring more V8!! i could do with a V8 ute for work!!

  20. Vie said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 10:23 am Link to comment Report comment

    This is probably due to some moron over in America, either within GM itself or one of the ones overseeing the finance package they got from the US, who took the “Don’t use this money to prop up non American factories” stipulation a little too far. Opel/Vauxhall is one of there most profitable and technically competent divisions, throwing away the expertise they provide GM would be equivalent to chopping out half there own brain.
    I doubt however they will sell them off, they will probably sell off a % of the business to a consortium of EU governments/businesses.
    Though, if they did sell it off, I would rather love to see how they intend to sell Daewoos as Chevrolets competitively in the EU market. You can already smell the moist trousers as they watch there sales and market share vanish.

  21. natic said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 12:03 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Idiots, have you not seen that Ford Falcon has Australian family car of the year awards from Wheels and others? Also that it is the only car in it’s class to have a 5 star ANCAP award?

    Ford has been responsible for making companies like Jaguar increase in quality and has been doing the same for years on homegrown Ford Australia Falcon models.

    Just because GM builds utter trite doesn’t mean Ford can’t build better cars. Admittedly however I concede they’re not up there with the Japanese cars like Honda, Toyota, Mazda (which it part owns) and Subaru.

  22. Musashi said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I suppose if Vauxhall execs had greased the election campaigns of the right people (like the bankers), then we wouldn’t be too worried for her future.
    Personally, I think all the crap companies should go under. Then they might bother to make something half-way decent.

  23. svrallo svrallone said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I thought that this wasn’t supposed to be in the cupholder. Well all the opel\vauxhall thing is a mess. Probably they will close and be bought by tata as empty brands, and probably saab also. If TG can’t figure the closed car brand lottery out, who can?

  24. China Tiger said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Vauxhall has no Product Development and its all done in Germany by you’ve guest it Opel.
    This is what will happen… The UK Govt will put money(millions if tax payers cash) in to Vauxhall and then they will continue to make the same product for two years max. Whislt Opel will bring new innovative product. Vauxhall will die and Opel will be reintroduced to the UK market buying up the Vauhall network.
    The UK need to focus on what important, adding real value and selling it. The govt need to educaate and keep us healthy to do it after that stop f**king about with country speed limits and put us all to real work not banking..

  25. catersam said...
    Monday March 9, 2009 at 6:51 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I assume Holden is to be passed over too? The VXR8 is a neccessary part of the range, as a Flagship if nothing else.

  26. george said...
    Tuesday March 10, 2009 at 10:42 pm Link to comment Report comment

    puhlease, holden ? the flagship ? perhaps a destroyer !

  27. Hr.Flickk said...
    Tuesday March 10, 2009 at 11:03 pm Link to comment Report comment

    For all those not in favour of Opel/Vauxhall.. keep in mind that most of their product, for the past 30 odd years, has sold and sold well.. The kadett, manta, corsa, astra, vectra, omega even the tigra and calibra.. sold millions, most people have driven, possibly even owned one. They are the new people´s car.. cheap, almost reliable bits of sometimes unexpectadly enjoyable motoring with a tacky flair that´ll sell and if keeping the UK market happy will have to include a bit of glue and a British coat of arms ? So be it ! I´m guessing it won´t be the biggest problem. Holden will be bought by some wacko oz billionaire and eventually be forgotten, remembered only by those down under as the best car they ever had…

  28. Von Smallhausen said...
    Tuesday March 10, 2009 at 11:10 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Pig ! Dog !

  29. Von Smallhausen said...
    Tuesday March 10, 2009 at 11:11 pm Link to comment Report comment

    und vat iz all zat wiz ze government needs to keep us healsy and vorking ? Sounds, scary !

  30. Bobby Joe said...
    Thursday March 12, 2009 at 5:03 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I miss the Viva.

  31. Race355 said...
    Sunday March 22, 2009 at 1:04 am Link to comment Report comment

    In all Fairness GM is a terrible car company and as far as American car companies go GM is supposedly the best. I work at a VW Dealer in America and today a Pontiac G6 (which is an Opel insignia) came in for a lease return. As I went to park it the power steering just decided to go on a union mandated brake, packed up, and went home. Plus the wheel on the car is made out of a slick plastic so turning the wheel proved to be difficult.

  32. RaiulBaztepo said...
    Saturday March 28, 2009 at 9:47 pm Link to comment Report comment

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  33. F.King-Hell said...
    Tuesday March 31, 2009 at 10:29 am Link to comment Report comment

    Race355 points out what we already know – American made cars have an appaling build quality that would not be accepted on these shores (even Infinity had to up their game before thinking about coming to Europe) Time after time they try to foist dreadful tat onto us (Cadilac STS, Dodge – well any of the dodge range really, Jeep (poorly designed & hideously unreliable) & Chysler – Neon, PT, etc (only the 300 seems to scrape in & even then only because of looks – if compared to similar offerings from Merc or BMW it is found sadly wanting) – long & short the American market may accept this crap, but the wider world won’t & now the American manufacturing base which has for so long been protected will have to play catch up. It may be that GM & Chrysler should go quietly or live a lingering death (like BL did – same problems, complacency & crappy designs with no quality control)- Obama has given them 30 & 60 days respectively to prove they can survive – bit of a tall order there! If Chrysler merge with Fiat – itt can only be bad news for Fiat!!

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  36. belly fat said...
    Friday November 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm Link to comment Report comment

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