Karl-Thomas Neumann, the new chief executive of Opel, has expressed his full support of the beleaguered carmaker’s restructuring plan. Sources told Automobilwoche that Neumann has reviewed the Drive 2022 plan, and intends to implement it without major changes. General Motors posted $1.8 billion in operating losses in Europe in 2012 – of which, a big part is attributable to Opel.
GM now aims to achieve breakeven in Europe by 2015/2016 and to cut fixed costs at Opel by around $500 million in 2013 compared with 2012. According to an Opel spokesman, the targets will be achieved by a more thorough integration of financial services provider GMAC into GM as well as other measures.
Also a vital part of the Drive 2022 is a new car-pricing structure for Opel, which will stop short of being an across-the-board change in pricing or brand positioning. The Drive 2022 plan also targets more than 90 percent utilization of Opel's plants -- something may not feasible without shutting vehicle production at the carmaker’s Bochum site Germany. Neumann intends to persuade employees to grant concessions to make the plan feasible.
According to the Drive 2022 plan, vehicles sold in Europe will be built in Europe whenever possible. For instance, the successor of the Mokka small sports utility vehicle could be produced in Eisenach, Germany, or Gliwice, Poland, instead of South Korea, the spokesman remarked.
He noted that no final decision about the matter has been made. Meanwhile, GM has no “European localization plans" for the US-produced Ampera plug-in hybrid or the South Korean-built Antara medium SUV. The plan’s third phase targets growth in Russia, to be followed by an increase in the brand's desirability by being named in the top five in customer satisfaction surveys.