Blog: Dave LeggettOpel/Vauxhall's chief gets delightfully candid

Dave Leggett | 4 March 2015

General Motors' European chief, Karl-Thomas Neumann, was on good form in Geneva this week. At a journalists' round-table at the show, I asked Opel/Vauxhall's boss for an update on Russia and GM's response to the growing economic problems there. He was pretty candid in his reply. Essentially, he pointed out that GM is taking the appropriate actions in response (basically, cutting output, raising prices) and monitoring the position closely. And he said that no-one knows what will happpen with respect to the causes of the crisis and that GM will take action as things become clearer. Not everyone is as honest as that.

Someone then slightly cheekily asked him if Russia could be left out of the Europe reporting region for GM, because then things like sales totals and trends would look a whole lot better for Europe. Neumann let out a little grin.

"I am a little unfortunate here because I asked for Russia," he said. And to laughter in the room added: "It was one of my most brilliant moves!"

In GM when K-T Neumann arrived, Russia was managed in GM's International Operations division. Neumann said that he thought it should be managed as part of Europe. "And there was growth potential for Russia, so we all agreed that it should be part of our European organisation. So I got it and it's in my P&L now..."

18 March 2015: RUSSIA: General Motors closing Russian assembly lines, axing Opel

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