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In management overhaul, GM merges European units
International Herald Tribune
Saturday, June 19, 2004

RÜSSELSHEIM, Germany - General Motors announced a major overhaul of its unprofitable European operations Friday in an effort to streamline the business by bringing its units Adam Opel, Vauxhall Motors and Saab Automobile under a single management structure.

GM said the head of the Germany-based Opel, Carl-Peter Forster, would take over as president of GM Europe at its headquarters in Zurich, with the heads of Vauxhall, based in Britain, and Saab, the Swedish division, reporting to him. Forster in turn will report to Frederick Henderson, who took over as president of GM Europe this month and now gets the new title of chairman.

The company said its plans would speed decision making and increase efficiency.

"You can read from this that the sales and marketing of the different brands at GM Europe will be one," Henderson said during a conference at Opel's headquarters here. "The results in Europe are not acceptable," he said. He did not say when the division would be profitable.

GM's European operations have been losing money since 1999 despite an ambitious restructuring plan, and the company recently had to backtrack from predictions that GM Europe would break even or make a profit this year.

While GM as a whole earned $1.3 billion in the first quarter, GM Europe remained the weak spot, seeing its losses widen to $116 million from $65 million a year earlier.

Market share slipped to 9.5 percent from 9.6 percent in a sluggish European auto market.

The management overhaul is being undertaken to cut duplication and to move the finance, engineering, buying, manufacturing, sales and marketing operations of the different units into "pan-European" departments, GM said.

The company will also create a single design unit, which will "align" work being done on new Opel, Vauxhall and Saab models.

Succeeding Forster as head of Opel is Hans Demant, who will keep his earlier responsibilities as vice president for engineering for GM Europe. The heads of Vauxhall and Saab will report to Forster.

Auto industry analysts said they were not convinced that GM was being bold enough in its reorganization in Europe.

Article Here

Hans Demant:
 

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Cheers to the painfully slow and long overdue arrival of sound business practices at GM Europe! Hopefully, they will find a better balance between rational organization and strong brand identity, cuz it aint there now.
 

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Do they sell Cadillacs in France? Cadillac IS named for a French dude :-x. I love caddies; 'specially the new STS :). When is that gonna be out!? They said June but i still can't build one on the website.......... <_<
 

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Chevrolet is also a French name, but I think the relationship ends there, just like with Cadillac. Any sales done in France, or the rest of Europe for that matter, are negligible compared to here.
 

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Merging management isn't going to help slow sales!!! I think GM Europe needs to get rid of Chevrolet, Buick, and other American-based vehicles in Europe (besides Caddy). It isn't helping, and it is slowing down sales. By taking Chevrolet out of Europe, we can finally focus on Caddy in which will receive tons of new models to make it tough competitors. Vauxhall and Opel should blend into Opel's brand to increase sales, and Saab should stay where they are.
I'm actually glad GM didn't buy FIAT. It would make financial-trouble for the General, and more to focus on in the slow-selling world of GM Europe.
 

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So, the new President of GM Europe still answers to Wagoneer in Detriot right?
 
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