Former GM brands back into the black after almost two decades

Just 11 months after purchasing Opel and Vauxhall from General Motors, the PSA Group has halted the flow of red ink from the lightning bolt and griffin brands.

According to the French car maker, Opel/Vauxhall made a profit of €502 million ($794 million) during the first half of 2018. Its operating margin was 5.0 per cent, a significant improvement from the -2.5 per cent margin during the first five months under PSA's wing.

Much of this turnaround, it seems, comes thanks to the company's aggressive drive to slash fixed costs, which have dropped by around 28 per cent, and reduced production costs.

According to Automotive News, the PSA Group is looking to reduce costs even further by cutting around 3700 manufacturing jobs at Opel. It is also looking for a buyer for parts of the German marque's research and development division, and in the process offload another 4000 jobs.

Above: Opel Combo, or maybe a Peugeot Partner.

By comparison, the Peugeot/Citroen/DS side of the business turned a profit of around €1.8 billion ($2.9 billion) and had an operating margin of 8.5 per cent on the back of strong SUV sales.

During the first half of this year, Opel/Vauxhall 571,832 cars throughout the world — 96 per cent of which were in Europe.

Peugeot sales were down 1.9 per cent to 1,005,676, while Citroen was up 8.7 per cent to 572,561, and DS improved 14.0 per cent to 31,754.

Although not as Euro-centric as GM's former brands, the automaker's French brands were still heavily reliant on its home continent, with 64.6 per cent of Peugeot sales occurring in Europe. Citroen chalked up 77.6 per cent of its total in Europe, while DS generated 89.2 per cent of its sales close to home.

The next largest regions for the company were the Middle East and Africa, China and South-East Asia, and Latin America.

The PSA Group bought Opel/Vauxhall, and GM's European financing arm for €2.2 billion ($3.5 billion) in August 2017.

Opel/Vauxhall's last full year profit came in 1999, and since the beginning of the millennium GM has lost around US$15 ($20 billion) on the Continent.