February 27, 2021

G.M. C.E.O. Squelches Opel Rumors

DETROIT – General Motors is not interested in selling its European unit, Adam Opel A.G., the carmaker’s chief executive said Wednesday, countering widespread speculation.

“I will say this: Opel is not for sale,” the executive, Daniel F. Akerson, said. Mr. Akerson, speaking to reporters at a Detroit assembly plant after a ceremony to open contract talks with the United Automobile Workers union, declined to elaborate on G.M.’s plans for Opel.

Two weeks ago, G.M. lashed out at the chief executive of rival automaker Volkswagen A.G., Martin Winterkorn, accusing him of fanning rumors about an Opel sale. A German newspaper quoted Mr. Winterkorn as saying a Chinese carmaker, rather than the Hyundai Motor Company, would probably be interested in buying Opel. Two German magazines also published reports in June that G.M. might be looking to sell Opel, possibly to Volkswagen.

“Opel has been part of the G.M. family since 1928 and remains important to the company,” G.M. said in the statement July 13 that criticized Volkswagen. “G.M. is pleased with Opel’s solid progress over the last year in turning around its business, and the company continues to invest in outstanding products for the European market.”

But the statement stopped short of saying that Opel, which has struggled during the downturn in Europe’s economy, was not on the market, allowing talk of a potential sale to linger.

G.M. made a deal in 2009 to sell Opel to a consortium headed by the Canadian parts supplier Magna, but the board of directors installed after it emerged from bankruptcy protection canceled the sale, which had been backed by the German government and labor unions. The deal to sell Opel was reached at a time when G.M. was streamlining is operations and selling or shutting divisions that were losing money or not critical to its core business.

Since then, G.M. has been implementing an ambitious restructuring plan at Opel aimed at making the division profitable in 2012 through a 20 percent reduction in capacity and the elimination of 8,300 jobs.

G.M. is introducing an Opel version of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car, called the Ampera, in Europe this summer as part of its effort to rejuvenate the division.

Bill Vlasic contributed reporting.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=b93c877945efb2be6f1c1b16b18bd612

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