General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson paid a visit to Opel’s headquarters in Rüsselsheim, Germany last week, and visited an all-employee meeting at the facility while he was at it. Akerson reiterated GM’s commitment to the Drive Opel 2022 plan, which calls for 23 new models and 13 new engines for the brand over the next four years, and a complete turnaround in a decade.
Akerson also addressed questions of employees and commented on the continuing economic challenges in Europe. He underscored the need and GM’s resolve to return Opel (and thus, Vauxhall) to growth as a crucial part of the company’s global success. “A company like GM needs a strong presence in Europe, powerful design and product development as well as a strong network of dealerships. Opel fulfills this role.” The chief also noted that Opel is on track to sell more than a million vehicles this year and that the arm will play a major role in GM’s overall product development.
In addition, Akerson reassured employees that the company’s turnaround plan is working: “There are several positive signs that demonstrate that our corporate plan is starting to work,” Akerson said. “We are relying on our own hard work and are not counting on a tailwind from the markets”, he added, referring to the $300 million reduction of overhead year to date. Opel’s product offensive, which has commenced with the new Mokka and Adam, will continue to be a key element of the turnaround.
The GM Authority Take
If nothing else, we imagine Akerson’s comments will calm Opel employees and boost morale… if nothing else.