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GM Europe chief Reilly sees 5% drop in 2010 Opel/Vauxhall sales

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GM Europe chief Reilly sees 5% drop in 2010 Opel/Vauxhall sales

Opel restructuring plan ready by late January

January 13, 2010 06:01 CET

DETROIT (Reuters) -- GM Europe's Opel and Vauxhall new-car sales may fall as much as 5 percent in 2010, as tentative signs of economic recovery are offset by the end of scrapping incentive schemes, its president Nick Reilly said on Tuesday.

Opel/Vauxhall sold about 1.2 million vehicles last year, but Reilly says the carmaker will find it hard to maintain that momentum next year.

"I would say we'll probably be down somewhere between zero and 5 percent. We might do better than that," Reilly said, adding that popular products such as the Astra compact, Insignia mid-sized model and forthcoming new Meriva minivan might help boost market share.

Reilly said he saw the overall western European auto market down by between 1 million and 1.5 million units this year.

"I think most people think (the general economy) will recover a bit, but not very strongly," Reilly said, referring to 2010.

"In the automotive market there were special incentive program, especially in Germany (Opel's home market), that boosted the market temporarily and dragged some sales forward from 2010 to 2009. We're going to get the payback for that this year. It'll be difficult for us to maintain the same volume in 2010 as we had in 2009 in that circumstance," Reilly said.

Readying to restructure

Reilly confirmed that GM Europe still aims to present a restructuring plan by the end of January, and added that no decision had yet been taken on Opel's Antwerp, Belgium, plant, which is considered a possible candidate for closure.

Opel has said it plans to cut about 8,300 jobs from its work force of some 50,000 in a 3.3 billion-euro overhaul that sees it seeking state aid from countries with Opel plants, including Germany, Britain -- home to Vauxhall -- Spain and Poland.

Reilly said at the Detroit auto show on Tuesday that discussions with all the relevant European governments were making progress.

Reilly took over as GM Europe president late last year after the U.S. carmaker controversially decided to keep its European operations, reversing months of negotiations to sell Opel/Vauxhall to Canadian parts supplier Magna International Inc. and its Russian partner Sberbank.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20100113/ANE/301129984/1193##ixzz0cVUKzutF

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Chevy rising with GMDAT products, Opel/Vauxhall declining, Cadillac totally irrelevant in Europe. Interesting management challenge...

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