MUNICH -- Opel/Vauxhall will become a global company with a new marketing message and the gaps in its product and powertrain lineup filled, CEO Nick Reilly said in a letter to the company's 48,000 employees.
Reilly urged staff to adopt a "winner" mentality as he tries to turn around the money-losing European division of General Motors Co., but warned that the automaker faces a difficult year in Europe where he expects new-car sales to fall by 1.5 million.
"It is time for Opel/Vauxhall to be clear winners again and to be recognized as clear winners," Reilly said in a personal message to Opel/Vauxhall employees.
Reilly will present his restructuring proposals for Opel the end of the month. His plan is expected to include the elimination of 8,300 jobs and the closure of Opel's Antwerp, Belgium, factory.
Opel needs 3.3 billion euros ($4.7 billion) to finance its plan and is seeking 2.7 billion euros in financial aid from governments in countries where Opel has factories.
"We don't just have to turn our operating results around in normal circumstances. We must deal with a very difficult market environment. In 2010 we expect the Western European market to be 1.5 million units lower than an already weak 2009. So, we need to move fast," Reilly wrote.
He said a working group has been set up to define Opel/Vauxhall's core values and ensure that the automaker's products and advertising and "clearly come from the same home."
Opel to get more autonomy
Reilly said Opel will have more autonomy. Opel managers and labor representatives have complained that decisions affecting Opel have been taken in Detroit without fully understanding what Opel needs to compete in Europe.