Vauxhall and Opel 'not for sale' - CEO Akerson

Published: 28 July 2011

GM chief executive Dan Akerson has overnight dismissed claims that its Vauxhall/Opel European division is for sale.

CAR's European editor Georg Kacher, and media outlets in Germany, reported last month that German chancellor Angela Merkel had weighed in to the debate and encouraged Volkswagen to step in and take GM Europe off GM's hands. Vauxhall and Opel have also been linked to a possible sale to the Chinese.

'Vauxhall and Opel not for sale'

Akerson told Reuters: 'We don't comment on speculation - and there has been a lot of speculation - but I will say this: Opel is not for sale.

'Most CEOs in this position will tell you a division is not for sale until it's sold. I've seen the story before.'

Why would GM spin off its European wing anyway?

Because it's losing money - a whopping $1.6bn last year. When the GM mothership went bust in 2009, it came within an inch of selling GM Europe to Canadian parts supplier Magna International, but the deal was pulled at the last minute.

Tellingly, Akerson was one of two board members to vote against keeping Opel. This was before he became CEO and he lost the vote.

How are Vauxhall and Opel performing?

GM Europe is slowly turning around, and posted a small profit in the first quarter of 2011. European boss Nick Reilly claimed Vauxhall and Opel were gaining market share.

Reilly predicts the division will break even this year, and make a profit in 2012. If this performance continues to improve, it seems more likely that GM will keep its European operations inhouse. But it's definitely a story to keep an eye on.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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