The end of an era for General Motors’ once-sprawling global empire has come to a close: Opel and Vauxhall have officially been sold to France’s PSA Groupe.
The deal was closed today, August 1, 2017, which falls in line with previous estimates that aimed for the deal to close by the end of July. PSA Groupe also operates the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands.
The sale was officially made public this past March, which saw Opel and Vauxhall unloaded from GM for €2.2 billion, or $2.6 billion USD by today’s exchange rates. With Opel and Vauxhall, PSA Groupe becomes the second-largest automaker on the continent of Europe behind Volkswagen Group.
GM has described the sale as a positive move and has said the sale unlocks value by reshaping the company. In the automaker’s statement today, GM reiterated those feelings and painted the sale as the “most significant” in a series of actions to strengthen its “global enterprise” and position itself for the future.
“We’ve taken another bold step in our ongoing work to transform GM,” added GM President Dan Ammann. “This transaction allows us to sharply focus our resources on higher-return opportunities as we expand our technical and business leadership in the future of mobility.”
Under CEO Mary Barra, GM hasn’t been afraid to cut ties with underperforming markets. Opel’s operations hadn’t turned a profit in 17 years; the automaker largely pulled out of Russia; GM announced it would cease selling cars in India and the move to end Holden’s manufacturing presence in Australia is well documented.
With the sale finalized, Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann will officially depart the company. He stepped down as CEO in June but remained a part of the management board, where he said he would remain until Opel transferred ownership to PSA. Michael Lohscheller succeeds him.
GM insists the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term costs of the transaction, and there are definitely some costs associated with the sale. The automaker now expects a $5.5 billion charge to complete the transaction, a $1 billion greater estimate than first expected. The sale of GM Financial’s European operations to Groupe PSA and BNP Paribas is expected to close later this year.
As for future GM products, Buick and Holden will be unaffected by the brand’s change of ownership. GM has locked in supplies of all Opel-based vehicles it sells around the world. That includes the recently revealed 2018 Buick Regal Sportback and TourX wagon.
With the sale complete, GM has officially executed a mainstream retreat from the old continent. Chevrolet and Cadillac will retain a small presence.