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Opel skids further into the red

RUESSELSHEIM, Germany : Opel, the German arm of US car maker General Motors, said it skidded further into loss last year as a result of weak demand for cars and the negative effects of the weak dollar, but the firm said it still intended to drive back into profit this year.

Opel said in a statement Friday it booked operating loss of 384 million euros (476 million dollars) in 2003, wider than the previous year's loss of 227 million euros.

Revenues were down 6.3 percent at 13.9 billion euros as consumers held back on big-ticket purchases and exchange rate fluctuations also hit earnings by hundreds of millions of euros, Opel said.

Nevertheless, "we're sticking to our target of making Opel profitable," promised chairman Carl-Peter Forster.

Opel would make a "significant contribution" to the earnings of GM Europe this year, Forster said with providing any concrete figures.

The chairman insisted Opel had made progress in cutting costs.

But "it was a very difficult year" and there were no impulses from the market as a whole, the car maker complained.

Ferocious competition meant that Opel had to introduce substantial price discounts and its market share in Germany slipped to 10.3 percent from 10.4 percent.

Vital for the group's 2004 earnings target was the new Opel Astra, scheduled to come onto the market in March and a model aimed as a direct rival to Volkswagen's ever-popular Golf.

Opel has invested more than one billion euros in the model, which the car maker hopes will boost its market share to 10.8 percent in 2004, with around 200,000 Astras scheduled to be sold in the first year, Forster said.

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Yikes! To make matters worse, I read that the deadly profit-draining US "incentive" epidemic has migrated across the pond to Europe; apparently VW and Opel are going for each other's carotids with incentives on the new Golf and Astra. This is not good. It's sad, really, mostly because both the new Golf and the new Astra appear to be infinitely competent, attractive, well-designed autos.
 

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Funny how all the "desirable" GM cars that are made by Opel, the cars that "GM has to bring to the US because everything that GM sells here sucks..."

CANT MAKE ***** MONEY.....

Menwhile back in the US......

Lets keep European cars in Europe and American cars over here.
 
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