Speaking to the Australian media at the Geneva Motor Show today, the president of General Motors, Dan Ammann, emphasised GM’s plan to ensure its global operations show strong signs of efficient growth.
“It’s about what is the long-term profit potential in conjunction with, do we have a strong franchise, are we in a good position in the market and do we see a path to build that over time in an efficient way, in an effective way?” said Ammann.
According to the GM President, the move to sell Opel and Vauxhall to PSA group, which owns the Peugeot and Citroen brands, was due to a lack of scale in the European market, which meant the brand couldn’t sustain its product lineu-p with Europe's changing and ever more stringent regulations.
“As we looked at Europe and we looked at what was needed to be successful here we realised we needed more scale,” he added.
Now that the brands are tied in with PSA, the scale for Opel and Vauxhall goes from around one million vehicles a year to three million, providing more efficient ways of managing customer and regulatory needs.
But what about Holden? Ammann says that the Australian arm of GM is definitely part of the company's global future strategy which is “not just short-term profit” but “more about where can we win on a sustainable basis going forward”
“Yes [Holden is a positive for GM]. We have a strong brand, we have a lot of history… [but] we have a lot of work to do. But, from my perspective, we are doing all the work we need to and we are starting to see some of the early results of that and we need to stick to that and get to where we need to get to go.”
According to Ammann, Holden has seen positive results in its brand metrics for the last 12 months, with quality, customer satisfaction and other metrics all trending upwards.
The future for Holden is to continue that upward trend in customer satisfaction, which Ammann admits will need to come from the whole operation, including the dealers.
“It’s about having some patience and continuing to support that and have the right product and that the dealers are doing the right thing with customer service and do that over and over and over again,” he said.
Holden will charge ahead with its plans to import the Opel Insignia and Astra for the next-generation Commodore and Cruze replacement. Interestingly, the sale of Opel to PSA does not have any restrictions for the brand to re-enter the Australian market, although we believe that would be rather unlikely in the foreseeable future.