General Motors CEO Mary Barra faced tough questions recently on CNBC regarding the prospect of profitability in the European market. The interviewer who spoke with Ms. Barra called into question the possibility of GM’s hopes for profitability in Europe by 2016.
Ms. Barra’s answer? The Opel brand. She commented on the strength of Opel, despite the struggling European economy, saying, “If you look at our European operations, the Opel brand [is] very strong. Just last week at the Paris auto show… we made significant product announcements, and we’re really seeing good, steady improvement and growth in market share with the right focus on the Opel brand.”
Barra did acknowledge that there are “larger issues at play,” which the interviewer happily elaborated upon: Russia, Latin America, the foreign exchange, and the quality issues that have recently come to light here at home. He also relayed an announcement by Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley, which cut their estimates of General Motors share value by 9 to 25 percent over the next three years.
“[He’s] essentially saying you’re guidance is far too optimistic given… the external factors around the world,” the interviewer said. In response, Mary Barra largely echoed her response to earlier questions regarding the Cadillac brand: “It’s going to take some time, but we’re committed.”
Whether General Motors will be able to pull off a profitable near-future in Europe remains to be seen. But if there is a possible avenue within reach, Mary Barra is committed to finding it.
You can watch the entire interview on the CNBC website.