GM Pledges ?4 Billion In Opel Product Development, 23 New Models Coming Photo:
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Malcolm Flynn | Apr, 11 2013 | 3 Comments

General Motors has announced plans to invest €4 Billion (AU$4.95 billion) in its European operations, in a bid to return the Opel and Vauxhall brands to profitability.

It won't be easy; there's been a lot of red ink on GM's European ledgers over the past ten years.

The project will focus on introducing 23 new/refreshed models and 13 new engines by 2016, including the upcoming Cascada and new models planned with partner PSA Peugeot Citroen.

GM CEO Dan Akerson announced the investment following a board meeting at Opel's Rüsselheim, Germany headquarters this week.

“We’re more convinced than ever Opel will succeed," Akerson said.

“We are also more convinced than ever that GM must have a strong and successful presence throughout Europe, and especially here in Germany.”

The announcement follows the appointment of former Volkswagen China boss Karl-Thomas Neumann as GM's European boss and Opel CEO in March.

“The investment by our parent company is a clear commitment [to Europe]," Neumann said. “[The planned turnaround is] based on conservative assumptions, not just on hope.”

Bloomberg reports that GM's European arm (Opel and Vauxhall) lost US1.8billion (pretax) in 2012, and has accumulated losses of US$16.4 billion since 1999.

The European car market is expected to shrink for the sixth consecutive year in 2013, and Opel's domestic first quarter results were down 16 percent on 2012, compared with a European industry-wide shrinkage of 13 percent over the same period.

But, as Australian buyers have now had opportunity to discover, Opel has some very nicely styled and capable cars in its portfolio.

What it most needs - and GM will be banking on in announcing this investment - is a recovering European economy.

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