Not their finest hour: GM and Opel

Celebrating the greatest cock-ups in automotive history. This week we look at GM and Opel
By Dejan Jovanovic, Features Writer
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January 14, 2018
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In Germany there is a rhyme, Jeder popel fährt nen Opel. Every booger drives an Opel…

General Motors has owned the Opel brand (and Vauxhall in the UK) since 1929, and pretty much never managed to shake the image. The Americans finally did shake the European itch, and dropped Opel over to the French to worry about last year. GM says it’s to consolidate the global business and get more profitable. They’re doing that by finally high-tailing out of the European market, and it only took them a few decades…

The truth is, even with Opel’s 1.2 million annual sales, GM is better off without the Germans because although they’re missing out on a large chunk of revenue to the tune of nearly $19 billion a year, they’ll be more profitable per unit. GM, however, can forget about competing with Volkswagen and Toyota over the claim of biggest carmaker.

After the sale of Opel to the French Peugeot-Citroen group in 2017, GM actually went on about being proud of Opel and in particular for finally providing a better future for the German brand. When you look back at the years, pride is the last thing you’d expect.

Opel hasn’t been profitable since 1999. Actually they’ve lost money every year on the trot since then, amounting to something like $20 billion. Instead of an abysmal failure, GM is actually marking this one up as an achievement, as a successful cost-cutting exercise.

Anyway, over to you, monsieurs. What’s booger in French?

 

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