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by Tim Beissmann

General Motors has underscored its long-term commitment to Opel with the announcement of a four billion euro ($4.95 billion) investment into the European division over the next four years.

The massive financial injection forms the first part of Opel’s new ‘DRIVE!2022’ strategy – a 10-year plan through which GM plans to return Opel to profitability by the middle of the decade, as well as introduce 23 new models and 13 new powertrains by the end of 2016.

GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said the investment emphasised the importance of Opel to the Detroit-based company’s future.

“As a global automotive company GM needs a strong presence in Europe – in terms of design and development as well as manufacturing and sales,” Akerson said at the board meeting at Adam Opel Haus in Russelsheim, Germany.

“Opel is a key to our success and enjoys its parent company’s full support.”

Opel supervisory board chairman Steve Girsky said the gathering of the board of directors at Opel’s headquarters – the first time such a meeting has been held in Germany in 20 years – was both a symbolic and literal show of 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,” Girsky said.

“This partnership is stronger than it has ever been.”

GM recorded an operating loss of $1.7 billion in Europe in 2012, on the back of a $660 million loss the previous year. Last month, Opel confirmed its plans to close its Bochum assembly plant – currently an employer of 3300 workers – at the end of 2014.