BEIJING -- General Motors CEO Dan Akerson said it will be "a while" before the company's Opel/Vauxhall unit turns a profit, and he wouldn't rule out closing factories as he restructures GM's European unit.
Describing the carmaker's European operations as a "four-alarm fire," Akerson declined to comment when asked if he would have to shutter plants. He cited ongoing union negotiations.
But Akerson said Opel won't recover until overcapacity is balanced with shrinking demand. "Until capacity or production is matched with demand, we're not going to be in a very enviable position," Akerson said on Tuesday during his keynote address at the Automotive News China Conference in Beijing.
"Unless you have a strong export model in Europe, you're not making money," he said.
Akerson declined to give a specific timeline for when he expects Opel to return to profit, but said it would be "a while."
Troubles at Opel and its UK-based sister brand, Vauxhall, caused GM's European business to abandon plans to reach breakeven in 2011. The unit ended 2011 with a $747 million operating loss. GM has lost more than $13 billion in Europe since the late 1990s.