General Motors Co. has pledged to hold onto its gradual approach to Opel restructuring despite doubts over its feasibility as well as signs of increasing pressure from the French government for a partnership with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen. GM has vowed to break even in Europe by 2015 and close a factory in Germany by 2017.
However, there remain doubts over whether GM’s plans for Opel -- which include the roll out of 23 new models over five years – are sufficient to preserve the unit’s current market share and reverse losses that may amount to at least $1.5 billion for 2012. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said that the Opel’s stable share is “way too bullish."
Jonas suggested in 2012 that GM should sell Opel, expecting the unit to fail to meet its break-even goal. He added that revenue assumptions behind Opel’s restructuring don't allow for enough further degradation in the market or Opel's business. "Everyone's doing new product," Jonas remarked.
A day after it was forced to deny reports it was preparing to dispose Opel to PSA, GM tried to change the subject by showing off more vehicles at the Detroit auto show. Tim Lee, GM's international operations chief and an Opel board member, quipped getting the story off the front page – referring to Opel’s reported planned disposal to PSA -- is “incredibly important," said.
GM chief executive Dan Akerson was reported to have met with PSA CEO Philippe Varin in Detroit, as the US carmaker unveiled its new Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid in the auto show. Though officials of the carmakers declined to provide details of the talks, they dismissed press reports that they are holding talks over a possible PSA takeover of Opel, with the blessing of the French government. Akerson remarked during the show that Opel is neither for sale nor to be given away.