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Opel/Vauxhall News: Cash-Burning Opel a “Four-Alarm Fire,” Restructuring Deal Could Take 2 to 3 Months


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#1

black-knight

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 03:01 PM

Blake Noble
Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
May 10th, 2012

General Motors’ European operating firm Opel recently lost $256 million dollars in the first quarter of 2012, and changes are underway to stem the losses.

The waves of red ink washing in overseas at Opel are cutting deep into the Detroit automaker’s earnings. While GM posted net earnings of $1 billion dollars for this year’s first quarter, it knows things could’ve been much better if its European outpost were operating profitably.

Compared to the first quarter of 2011, GM’s earnings this time around were down by almost 69 percent because of its losses in Europe.

This has given GM CEO Dan Akerson especially some cause to worry. Akerson described the situation in a recent radio interview as a “four-alarm fire,” going on to say that Opel would “have to restructure again.”

It was barely six months ago that GM reorganized its European operations in a previous effort to turn the German brand around. During the shake-up, former president and CEO Nick Reilly was forced into retirement and replaced by Karl-Fredrich Stracke. Also transferring to Europe, among a host of others, were GM chief financial officer Dan Amman and GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky. Girsky is now chairman of the board at Opel.

Eurozone malaise squeezing Opel, automotive industry

Opel’s troubles stem from a serious financial and economic crisis currently sweeping Europe.

Just last month, the economy of the United Kingdom skidded into its second recession since 2008. As many as one out of four people living in Spain are currently unemployed. Many European countries, such as Greece, are swimming in sovereign debt and are requesting bailouts from the European Union.

The crisis in Europe has understandably debilitated consumer confidence, and new car sales there are expected to drop as a result. European buyers are expected to buy almost 1 million fewer vehicles than their American counterparts this year and recovery isn’t expected overnight.

When the CFO of rival Ford spoke to CNN Money recently, he said that he didn’t expect European sales to return to a “normal” level of 15 million vehicles a year for the next four to five years.

Over at Opel, signs of a faltering market for 2012 are already beginning to show as it watched its market share decline 0.7 percent in the first quarter — from 7.3 percent in the previous year to 6.6 percent this year.

While Opel CEO Karl-Fredrich Stracke is confident that some market share can be regained in the future with new models like the upcoming Mokka subcompact crossover and Adam city car, he said that he didn’t foresee significant growth in the market for the next two years.

While Opel is feeling the burn of a weakened European economy and automotive marketplace, it isn’t going the ride alone. It’s worth noting competitors Fiat, Renault, and Ford Europe are also similarly struggling, as is GM’s new business partner Peugeot-Citroen PSA.

Restructuring coming

Earlier this week, Opel labor boss Wolfgang Schaefer-Klug said to reporters amidst 4,000 striking workers at Opel’s Russelsheim plant that a restructuring deal could take 2 to 3 months.

Schaefer-Klug said a deal to bring the money-burning automaker back to profitability was “necessary and realistic.”

In early March, Opel CEO Karl-Fredrich Stracke also said that restructuring talks could take 2 to 3 months. Just last week, however, he told reporters that it could take an additional 2 months before he could disclose the complete details.

The restructuring at Opel is expected to mainly focus on cutting costs and over production, in order to adjust to the shrinking European market.

“We’ve got to get the break even point lower, get the revenue higher, in order to be profitable in that kind of market environment,” CFO Dan Amman told analysts back in January.

CEO Stracke would go on to say to reporters this month: “We're working intensively on increasing efficiency to improve profitability of the company in a difficult market environment as soon as possible.”

Opel lost an average of $628 dollars for each of the 1.19 million cars it produced last year. This is because its fixed costs are geared toward an additional half-million vehicles — a number worth the equivalent of two major manufacturing plants.

Plant closures out for now

While Opel will trim back production capacity, it denies rumors that it will shutter its plants in Ellesmere Port, UK and Bochum, Germany as part of the restructuring talks.

“We are not addressing any plant closures until 2014,” Stracke said recently.

Although labor boss Schaefer-Klug didn’t comment on the future of the Bochum plant, he didn’t think Ellesmere Port was in danger of closing. “I’ve heard no speculation that they want to close the plant,” he said.

In fact, it seems that Opel has considered relocating production of its compact Astra hatchback after 2015 exclusively to Ellesmere Port and Gliwice, Poland from Russelsheim, Germany. While such a move would cut costs and could boost production, it was met with red-hot disapproval from employees in Germany.

Schaefer-Klug especially rejected that the fact the Russelsheim plant produced only 18,000 Astras out of a total of 330,000 last year made producing the model there relatively insignificant.

“It’s complete rubbish to say that the Astra isn’t important for this plant,” he said, noting that Opel’s home plant is set to build 70,000 Astras this year.

Is saving GM’s burning European ship hopeless?

Since 1999, Opel’s losses have continued to mount and, since 1993, its market share has continued to shrink, leaving some observers to almost dismiss any prospect of the German brand returning to good health.

As much as $13 billion dollars has been lost by the European firm over the past 13 years, and its market share has deflated by 5.3 percent in EU and EFTA countries during the course of almost two decades.

“I almost see Opel’s problems as not solvable,” said industry watcher Maryann Keller in a Bloomberg report back in January.

Analysts also point out that Opel has significant image issues to trump, that it doesn’t have the standing of competitors like Volkswagen to charge prices that would cover costly German labor rates.

But there is some hope for GM’s troubled Euro brand. GM could expand Opel’s dealer network in China with the help of partner SAIC. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas even went so far as to suggest in a research note written at the beginning of the year that an alliance with SAIC could improve business efficiency at Opel.

The German brand is also set to launch in Australia this year, and that could bring about a slight upward nudge in sales if buyers there respond favorably.

There’s also Peugeot PSA’s partnership with Opel’s parent company. In March, board chairman Steve Girsky said that the union would begin to generate cost savings by the second half of this year.

The alliance between the two firms is expected to eventually save $2 billion annually within 5 years and give GM and PSA better leverage when purchasing components and raw materials. GM and PSA are also expected to share development costs on future vehicles.

While there’s still a rough economic storm ahead for Opel to weather, if GM restructures its European operations to be smarter and leaner, the 150 year-old German company could very well have a second big turnaround story to tell since it came back from the brink after WWII revenged Germany in the 1940s.


Sources: Automotive News (sub. req.), Bloomberg,WSJ (sub. req.) (3/6/12 and 5/10/12), Reuters, The Detroit Bureau, CNN Money, Detroit News, Financial Times

Click here to view the article

Edited by black-knight, 11 May 2012 - 11:06 AM.

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#2

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 04:13 PM

Opel should have been dumped years ago.

I hate to say I told you so, but...
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#3

black-knight

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 04:44 PM

Opel should have been dumped years ago.

I hate to say I told you so, but...


Perhaps, but now GM is in too deep to let go. Opel is a vital part of GM's product development operations. If they were to sell it off, then they run the risk of an outside company using their intellectual property.

GM's committed to Opel, one way or the other I'm afraid. Like I said, though, there is a reasonable chance for Opel to pull through. They just have to downsize a bit. Similar to America, the biggest hurdle it will face will be the unions.
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#4

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 04:57 PM

2 to 3 months sounds extremely optimistic.
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#5

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:15 PM

Opel needs to die just like my lovely Hummer. If Chevy, Buick, Caddilac are to be global, then no need for opel. They could kill it off saving hundreds of millions, convert the dealers to models that GM is pushing globally and focus on a smaller portfolio that can support and grow with profits.

No reason not to turn Opel into GM of Europe and have them create certain cars but under a smaller focus.
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#6

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:20 PM

Opel is Buick of Europe at this point, but they have too many models to be Buick of Europe... and they need a dealer network to pair to.
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#7

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:29 PM

Can someone explain to me why Opel CAN be fixed when it needs to shuttered for at least a year or three? I personally doubt that Opel is salvageable at this point as a separate car marque, but the IP can be salvaged in newer Buicks and Chevys. As for the European (especially German) unions, tell them that they will be frozen out until the market recovers, which may not happen until 2015 at the earliest.
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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:45 PM

Burn, baby, burn. Hate virtually all your Opel influenced cars. You perverted Buick so bad, you can take that with you.

Let the down voting begin.
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#9

black-knight

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:59 PM

Burn, baby, burn. Hate virtually all your Opel influenced cars. You perverted Buick so bad, you can take that with you.

Let the down voting begin.


I'm not going to down vote you, but what is your beef with Opel specifically?

The only late model Opel vehicle sold here that was 99 percent an actual Opel, and not just Opel-based, was the Saturn Astra and that failed because of badly timed launch, not because it was a bad car.

Before you mention it, the Buick Regal is an Opel Insignia edited for daytime television. We don't get the billion mile long option list over here that Europe does. We don't get the wagon here, or the OPC models. If the Regal GS is a real Insignia OPC, then I guess that makes me Charlie Sheen.

With all of that said, the Regal is still a good car and its made in North America now. It doesn't break down, seats four fat adults, is reasonably priced, and looks nice for a sedan. It's certainly much less dreadful than a Camry. What's to hate?

If anything, Buick's perverted — or should I say "perverting"? — Opel. The Encore (Opel Mokka) and Verano (Opel Astra sedan) were designed to be Buicks from the start of development. The next Regal and LaCrosse will probably also have similar ties. So who made who?

Edited by black-knight, 11 May 2012 - 12:15 AM.

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#10

SAmadei

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:50 AM

I'm not going to down vote you, but what is your beef with Opel specifically?


Well, I did not have a beef with Opel until they started taking over GMNA design. I like the old Opel GT, for example, even if I have no hope of fitting in one.

Obviously, I do not like the costs Opel is occurring. Why spend all this money in Europe when we have perfectly fine and likely underemployed automotive designers here in North America? I have an America first thought process, and understand the need for global platforms, but its my feeling cars for the US should have their designs finished here, at a minimum once the global platform and major parts are set. And with Europe headed down the toilet, its my feeling platform work should move back here, as well. I imagine US workers are simply cheaper in total cost than the Europeans, and US workers spend their earned money here.

Next, while you guys woo over the new Opel cars, I see them as externally boring and internally tiny... and not particularly American in style. Sure, they look better than the Toyotas, but barely. I'm not impressed with Nurburgring tuned suspension unless its a $50K+ supercar.

Sorry, I pine for the days when GM cars stood out in traffic.

The only late model Opel vehicle sold here that was 99 percent an actual Opel, and not just Opel-based, was the Saturn Astra and that failed because of badly timed launch, not because it was a bad car.


The Saturn Astra was awkward in the rear roofline and the headlights with the random lighting elements getting lost in the enclosures was awful.

Before you mention it, the Buick Regal is an Opel Insignia edited for daytime television. We don't get the billion mile long option list over here that Europe does. We don't get the wagon here, or the OPC models. If the Regal GS is a real Insignia OPC, then I guess that makes me Charlie Sheen.


The wagon or a real OPC would have been a nice offering, giving the dreadful Buick lineup a little spice. Unfortunately, Buick used to be arguably the most American of the American cars. It no longer is... and to me, Buicks are just trying to copy a bunch of foreign styles, slap a waterfall grill on it, portholes and a sweepspear.

That said, I still like the idea of thinking of you as Charlie Sheen. JK!

With all of that said, the Regal is still a good car and its made in North America now. It doesn't break down, seats four fat adults, is reasonably priced, and looks nice for a sedan. It's certainly much less dreadful than a Camry. What's to hate?


It doesn't break down?!? Whats the logic with that? The oldest ones are scarcely two years old. They better not be breaking down. Plenty of non-Opel GM cars have held up two years. Or did I miss something where GM said they will never break down?

Sure, its probably the nicest looking Opel right now, but its too damn small... and those four fat adults better not be planning on bringing much with them.

I loathe Toyota, but the new Camry is starting to look better to me.

If anything, Buick's perverted — or should I say "perverting"? — Opel. The Encore (Opel Mokka) and Verano (Opel Astra sedan) were designed to be Buicks from the start of development. The next Regal and LaCrosse will probably also have similar ties. So who made who?


Oh yeah, shame that GM's boring generic European brand that can pretend to be almost any other GM brand (Holden, Saturn, Buick, Vauxhall, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Daewoo) might pickup a little flare after the designers are forced to study John Gunnell's Standard Catalog of Buick 1903-2004 at gunpoint. Its only taken half a century (no pun intended) for Opel to pick up some style.

In the meantime, Buick sold its soul for Saturn's, and now month-by-month sales have suffered for 7 months as everyone else grows. Will there be a both a new Regal and La Crosse when they are selling at 30K/year and 81K/year levels? A new LaCrosse, yeah... if Buick don't get the ax or the starvation treatment in the meantime.
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#11

dfelt

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:12 AM

I agree with SAmadei, America first. Just as VW, BMW, MB, Toyota, Honda, etc all have the majority of their engineering work done in their home country with styling from around the world. I see no reason not to have the majority of work done on the global platform here in america and then tweak it for the rest of the world.

Opel is a blood sucking leech and needs to be erradicated. Then you can focus spending money on quality built products to ship around the world.

QUALITY products created here in America, built around the world for specific markets. Streamlined auto language with a natural upgrade story of Chevy, Buick and luxury caddiac
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#12

black-knight

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 12:54 PM

Well, I did not have a beef with Opel until they started taking over GMNA design. I like the old Opel GT, for example, even if I have no hope of fitting in one.

Obviously, I do not like the costs Opel is occurring. Why spend all this money in Europe when we have perfectly fine and likely underemployed automotive designers here in North America? I have an America first thought process, and understand the need for global platforms, but its my feeling cars for the US should have their designs finished here, at a minimum once the global platform and major parts are set. And with Europe headed down the toilet, its my feeling platform work should move back here, as well. I imagine US workers are simply cheaper in total cost than the Europeans, and US workers spend their earned money here.


I have a very good reason why GM North America should let the Europeans handle the engineering work on some models whole hog. Instead of explaining why, though, I'll just show you.

Posted Image
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That small entourage of complete hopelessness is why GMNA shouldn't bother with developing modern small to medium sized cars anymore. The Europeans have a better grasp on the idea than we do.

When we set out to build a Civic or Accord competitor, we always botch it up by making the interior out of carboard and Mountian Dew bottles, styling the exterior to look like an old muddy boot, and powering the whole mess with an engine taken from Farmer John's old Holland tractor. We simply don't get it and never have. Which is why GMNA is sticking with developing (some) large cars and full-sized trucks these days.

I mean, look at a 1988 Opel Vectra versus the 1988 Chevy Corsica or Buick Century above. The Vectra makes those two look like burlap sacks full of Indian food, especially the Century.

Posted Image

That slew of images also proves something else. For a span close to 30 years, we built absolute junk. While I torrentially drool over cars from the '60s and early '70s especially, I'd like to keep the late '70s, '80s, '90s, and early 2000s mostly behind me. Sure, each time period had a few bright spots, but then again so did the Dark Ages.

Yes, Europe and Japan built their share of bad cars during that time too, but they always somehow built the lesser of evils. For example, Japanese cars were always bland, but bland is better than looking like someone smacked you in the head with a spiked bat.

You did bring up an interesting point about automotive identity above and below.

Next, while you guys woo over the new Opel cars, I see them as externally boring and internally tiny... and not particularly American in style. Sure, they look better than the Toyotas, but barely. I'm not impressed with Nurburgring tuned suspension unless its a $50K+ supercar.

Sorry, I pine for the days when GM cars stood out in traffic.


What nationality a car can be identified as can be very subjective.

That said, if you're judging a new American car's identitiy based on standards old American cars set back in the '60s and early '70s, you'll find none of them are very "American" at all. Even the new Camaro was designed by a Korean and raised by Australians.

Also, 90 to 95 percent of the cars GM has built in, well, the last thirty years never stood out in traffic.

The Saturn Astra was awkward in the rear roofline and the headlights with the random lighting elements getting lost in the enclosures was awful.


Styling is a subjective thing too, and it wasn't why the car failed. Even though I'll agree that the five-door was a little bit "Mr. Rogers", the three-door was great and a much better looking car than a Cobalt coupe ... which, essentially, tried to be a fat three-door Astra with a trunk.

Edited by black-knight, 11 May 2012 - 12:54 PM.

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#13

black-knight

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 12:56 PM

The wagon or a real OPC would have been a nice offering, giving the dreadful Buick lineup a little spice. Unfortunately, Buick used to be arguably the most American of the American cars. It no longer is... and to me, Buicks are just trying to copy a bunch of foreign styles, slap a waterfall grill on it, portholes and a sweepspear.


I'm sorry, the days of Buick building scale highway-legal replicas of the RMS Titanic for Grandma Gloria and Grandpa Phil in Sunny Town, Florida needs to be left to rot in the past. Buick is the oldest American marque in production and I'd like to see it continue on for another 100 years. That won't happen if the brand goes back to building land barges.

The way I see it, the Buick we have now is more Buicky than it's been in a long time because its building premium cars again. That was always sort of the premise of the brand. Not big and fat cushy coffins for old people.

That said, I still like the idea of thinking of you as Charlie Sheen. JK!


Ha, I could never be Charlie Sheen because I'd never do cocaine and I haven't shot Tom Berenger. But anyway ...

It doesn't break down?!? Whats the logic with that? The oldest ones are scarcely two years old. They better not be breaking down. Plenty of non-Opel GM cars have held up two years. Or did I miss something where GM said they will never break down?

Sure, its probably the nicest looking Opel right now, but its too damn small... and those four fat adults better not be planning on bringing much with them.

I loathe Toyota, but the new Camry is starting to look better to me.


What I meant was that it's well built.

What could four fat people need to haul into the interior of a Regal besides their four fat asses? If they've got some luggage, there's a decent-sized trunk for that.

Oh yeah, shame that GM's boring generic European brand that can pretend to be almost any other GM brand (Holden, Saturn, Buick, Vauxhall, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Daewoo) might pickup a little flare after the designers are forced to study John Gunnell's Standard Catalog of Buick 1903-2004 at gunpoint. Its only taken half a century (no pun intended) for Opel to pick up some style.


Again, styling is subjective.

In the meantime, Buick sold its soul for Saturn's, and now month-by-month sales have suffered for 7 months as everyone else grows. Will there be a both a new Regal and La Crosse when they are selling at 30K/year and 81K/year levels? A new LaCrosse, yeah... if Buick don't get the ax or the starvation treatment in the meantime.


Uhhhhh ... what?
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#14

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:39 PM

I have some bad news for you, the Regal/Insignia was designed by an American. If it doesn't look "Buick" enough for you, that is because it was originally intended to be sold as a Saturn in the US.
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#15

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 02:51 PM

The burning is because of German unions and Merkel's heavy handedness to GM. Intellectually Opel and people working in R&D there are an asset to GM. I wonder how VW stays profitable with same labor force rates there? Is GM playing a cat and mouse game with German government similar to what it did with Australian counterparts?
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#16

black-knight

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 06:54 PM

The burning is because of German unions and Merkel's heavy handedness to GM. Intellectually Opel and people working in R&D there are an asset to GM.


You also can't forget about the state of the European automotive market. What Opel is facing in Europe now isn't terribly different from what GM faced in North America, honestly.

Agreed on Opel's R&D team.

I wonder how VW stays profitable with same labor force rates there? Is GM playing a cat and mouse game with German government similar to what it did with Australian counterparts?


Its like I said in the article. Volkswagen simply charges more than a comparable Vauxhall/Opel, justifying the price difference with brand recognition.

If this link will work, you'll see that a base Golf costs about £1,700 GBP more than a base Astra in the UK. That's the equivalent of $2,700 USD, and VW will charge you an additional £445 pounds ($715 USD) if you want a CD player. The Vauxhall has a CD player as standard.

Also consider the fact that VW has other brands which earn it bigger profits.

Edited by black-knight, 11 May 2012 - 08:27 PM.

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#17

SAmadei

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 07:06 PM

I have a very good reason why GM North America should let the Europeans handle the engineering work on some models whole hog. Instead of explaining why, though, I'll just show you.

<snipped a bunch of good looking cars out>

That small entourage of complete hopelessness is why GMNA shouldn't bother with developing modern small to medium sized cars anymore. The Europeans have a better grasp on the idea than we do.

When we set out to build a Civic or Accord competitor, we always botch it up by making the interior out of carboard and Mountian Dew bottles, styling the exterior to look like an old muddy boot, and powering the whole mess with an engine taken from Farmer John's old Holland tractor. We simply don't get it and never have. Which is why GMNA is sticking with developing (some) large cars and full-sized trucks these days.


Oh really? Most of those cars sold in numbers GM couldn't imagine today. They weren't perfect, but that was the bean counters, not the designers. Interiors made of cardboard? The best musclecars had interiors made with vinyl covered cardboard, and so did the Japanese in the '80s and early '90s. It was EPA fears that made GM put underpowered engines in everything.

GM could have maintained its edge by keeping their cars on a proper updating schedule, giving them better powerplants and upping the overall quality about 50%.

I mean, look at a 1988 Opel Vectra versus the 1988 Chevy Corsica or Buick Century above. The Vectra makes those two look like burlap sacks full of Indian food, especially the Century.

Posted Image


I strongly disagree. The Century looks great compared to that Opel Mediocrity, which came out in 1988, NOT 1982. You don't expect 6 years to make something look a little outdated? Again, its GM's bean counters who like leaving products out on the vine to rot for years.

At this point I would show photos of the J-body Ascona, T-body Chevette-era Kadett, or the T-body Daewoo LeMans-era Kadett or plenty of others. You know there is a reason Jezza refers to most Vauxhauls and Opels as rubbish.

That said, if you're judging a new American car's identitiy based on standards old American cars set back in the '60s and early '70s, you'll find none of them are very "American" at all. Even the new Camaro was designed by a Korean and raised by Australians.

Also, 90 to 95 percent of the cars GM has built in, well, the last thirty years never stood out in traffic.


GMNA cars had those design "rules" as noted in Lutz's book. While they may have been ridiculous, they produced cars that were distinctly GM and hence, American... even when GM tried to "Europeanize" various cars (Olds, Eurosport, etc.), they still looked American.

Next, the descent of the designer is not what determines how the overall flavor will be. Larry Shinoda is of Japanese descent, but the '70 Boss Mustang and '68 Corvette are both quintessentially American.

If GM's cars 15-30 years ago didn't stand out in traffic, its because since between new sales and survival in the used market, traffic was a sea of mostly GM cars in the first place. Only recently has the number of GM cars in traffic become scarce and its cars hidden so well.
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#18

SAmadei

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 07:58 PM

I'm sorry, the days of Buick building scale highway-legal replicas of the RMS Titanic for Grandma Gloria and Grandpa Phil in Sunny Town, Florida needs to be left to rot in the past. Buick is the oldest American marque in production and I'd like to see it continue on for another 100 years. That won't happen if the brand goes back to building land barges.

The way I see it, the Buick we have now is more Buicky than it's been in a long time because its building premium cars again. That was always sort of the premise of the brand. Not big and fat cushy coffins for old people.


Buick "Titanic" offerings where within 3% of Chevy's comparable offerings.

There is a reason old people like big and cushy cars... they have a lifetime of common sense and are tired of the frustration of not fitting things in the car, feeling every bone jarring impact on our decidedly non-Autobahn roads and having the ability to pilot something larger, which our young drivers seemingly cannot, even with the benefit of good vision.

What I meant was that it's well built.

What could four fat people need to haul into the interior of a Regal besides their four fat asses? If they've got some luggage, there's a decent-sized trunk for that.


Well built is a sign of the times. Even crap cars can make a quality-like clunk when you shut the door nowadays. We'll see how well built they are in 20 years.

You cannot fit 4 suitcases (assuming four men) in the trunk of the Regal unless they are fanny packs. If its four women, you know they need 8 of the largest suitcases on the planet and 4 carry ons. You'll need a second Regal.

Again, styling is subjective.


Only when its strong. Boring styling is boring.

Uhhhhh ... what?


That's 2011. We are living in 2012. Look at the month-by-month for Oct 2011 to April 2012. Down 10%-20% every month compared to the year before it. Meanwhile, other brands and companies seem to be doing better during that same period.

I have some bad news for you, the Regal/Insignia was designed by an American. If it doesn't look "Buick" enough for you, that is because it was originally intended to be sold as a Saturn in the US.


Designed by an American in America? Where was his immediate boss and the approval committee? It seems to me that since you can make a Regal into an Insignia by swapping nameplates, badges, manuals and a grill, it was still designed to be a nondescript Opel first.

And as a Saturn, it would have been fine. Saturns (exception of the Sky) have always been foreign wannabes.

Lets see how American the Regal/Insignia is...

Insignia won the European Car of the Year 2009, Best Executive Car in the UK and Slovenia, Best Family Car in Ireland and best fleet car (LOL!) in the UK, Austria, Denmark and Portugal. 500K Insignias have sold in Europe in three years.

Regal won the... *crickets* and has sold 61K in the US in three years (12K, 2010, 40K 2011, 9K so far in 2012).

Regal sold 79K in 2009 in China... seems more attuned to Asian tastes than American.
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#19

riviera74

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 08:04 AM

If an American car buyer wants German, he will buy a VW or MB or BMW or Audi. While there are certain characteristics of some German cars that might be desirable, not that many people here want German cars. Opel does a much better job at 4cyl and 6cyl than GM has in about 30 years (Buick 231 excepted). The new Regal and Verano are a tad smallish and "rather intimate" for Buick, but the sales need to come in large quantities for it to be worthwhile. As for Opel, right now there is no longer a reason to build car anywhere in or near Germany for a lot of very expensive reasons. If you dont believe me, look at this link.
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#20

Z-06

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:01 AM

Opel Adam will be developed in Rüsselsheim at Opel’s research and development center. This center, it is rumored, just lost a project: The next-generation Opel Zafira will now be developed by GM’s new cooperation partner PSA Peugeot Citroën, in which GM just acquired a seven-percent share. It is an ominous warning for Opel. With PSA’s expertise in developing compact cars, GM doesn’t need to lean so heavily on the Rüsselsheim R&D center.


Just confirms Peugeot's stakes and GM wanting to play hard vs. Merkel.
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