Dan Akerson and Nick Reilly’s double act came as something of a surprise in Geneva this week.

The GM CEO had been scheduled to appear before the media but was suddenly joined by his Opel chief to chew the fat with waiting journalists.

Reilly has made no bones about needing and wanting to turn around some fairly challenging numbers that saw Opel post disappointing Q4 losses but the very public endorsement by his boss created something of a stir.

Why did Akerson feel the need to make a robust defence of Opel in tandem with Reilly? A selection of the GM chief’s comments underline his support for his beleaguered European division.

“We continue to fund not only losses – no big deal – that is the obligation of a parent” and: “That is a vote of confidence – we are working well together as a corporation and team,” were just a couple of his paens for Opel which has performed in stark contrast to its parent of late.

Reilly returned the compliment with some reciprocal tub-thumping of his own: “Dan Akerson hit the nail on the head…it was not just the money, it was the statement that was made,” he said.

It might not amount to anything, it might, as Akerson memorably put it later, be “whistling past the graveyard,” but Opel has received some pretty strong support from its owner – for the time being at least.