GENEVA -- General Motors offered some compelling reasons for why it has to clear out of Europe -- killer competition among nonluxury rivals, a Byzantine regulatory environment and reduced product synergy with North America and the rest of the world.
It's a powerful argument, but then there's archrival Ford, which gets buffeted by the same headwinds as GM, whether home or abroad, yet earned $1.2 billion in Europe last year.
"Our businesses are in very different places," said Ford of Europe Chief Operating Officer Steven Armstrong.
For one thing, Armstrong says Ford of Europe got serious about restructuring well before Opel.
In fact, the situation here is reminiscent of how Ford fixed its U.S. balance sheet in late 2006 and 2007 (mortgaging the company in the process) and avoided bankruptcy. Europe, it turns out, is Alan Mulally's second miracle.
"Alan did a good job of realigning our objectives -- and actually executing," said Armstrong.
PSA's takeover of Opel does change the age-old competitive framework involving Europe's six volume groups -- and forces some rethinking.
"I'm looking forward to learning more about what they plan to do," Armstrong said. "But it won't change in the near term how we're running Ford of Europe. We were very profitable in 2016 and that was because of the work done in prior years. We started our restructuring ahead of many of the other brands and are benefiting from it now -- proving that you can be a volume player in Europe and be profitable, and produce cars that people want to buy.