GM won't 'cut and run,' Akerson tells Opel staff
FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- General Motors will neither sell its loss-making European unit Opel nor "simply close up shop and leave," CEO Dan Akerson told more than 5,000 staff in the brand's headquarters in Ruesselsheim today.
"As a global auto company, GM needs a strong design, engineering, manufacturing and sales presence in Europe. There's room for Chevrolet in Europe but Opel fulfills that role," he said in a copy of a speech.
"Recommendations that we 'cut and run' show you that some people simply do not see how important Opel is to our success," Akerson said.
Akerson has come under pressure from investors to divest or unwind Opel, which Morgan Stanley forecasts will post another $1 billion in annual operating losses on average through 2021 after $16 billion over the past dozen years.
GM, however, said last month it expects Opel to return to break-even levels by mid-decade.
GM said it expected a full-year operating loss of $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion in Europe this year, depending on the amount of restructuring in the fourth quarter. GM lost $747 million in the region last year.
The company said it was targeting results in Europe to be slightly better in 2013 than in 2012 and to reach break-even by mid-decade.
"The fact is we lack economies of scale in critical areas and if we can achieve scale by partnering with PSA, that's what we are going to do," Akerson told Opel's workers, referring to French carmaker Peugeot.
Earlier this week, people familiar with the matter said GM and Peugeot have halted talks on a deeper tie-up amid misgivings about the French carmaker's worsening finances and government-backed bailout.
Automotive News staff and wire services contributed to this report.Contact Automotive News