Opel Astra GTC three-door hatchbackEnlarge Photo
Despite reports in German magazines Auto Bild and Der Spiegel that GM’s management was questioning the long-term viability of the Opel brand, Opel’s CEO shot down rumors of a sale as “pure speculation.”
In an internal memo, Karl-Friedrich Stracke, Opel’s head, told employees, “I’m asking myself why this issue is surfacing again now that Opel is back on the route to success. We proved that the company is on a very good way and therefore represents a great value for GM.”
Auto Bild recently suggested that GM could improve financial results by shuttering Opel and focusing entirely on its Chevrolet brand in Europe. In reality, Opel’s sales have improved over the past two months, and turnaround efforts for GM Europe have been described as “on track” by Nick Reilly, president of GM Europe. “On track” doesn’t necessarily mean profitable, since GM’s own plan for Europe has them breaking even in 2011 before returning to profitability in 2012.
Opel had been on the chopping block as recently as 2009, when a deal between GM and Magna International was called off by General Motors at the last minute. Clearly GM saw opportunity for the Opel brand, which gives credence to reports that Opel isn’t on the market just yet. Frankly, we'd be happy if GM brought Opel over here, starting with the Astra GTC.