Opel/Vauxhall parent General Motors has mounted a spirited defence of its subsidiary’s disappointing fourth quarter performance that saw the European automaker post negative numbers.

Insisting that backing Opel/Vauxhall with financial support from the US showed a “vote of confidence,” GM very publicly made a show of support for its Europe operation at today’s (1 March) opening day of the Geneva Motor Show.

“We continue to fund not only losses – no big deal – that is the obligation of a parent – but we have funded the development of new products,” said GM chairman Dan Akerson, flanked by Opel/Vauxhall chairman Nick Reilly.

“That is a vote of confidence – we are working well together as a corporation and team.”

Opel/Vauxhall has endured a torrid past 12 months with some painful restructuring seeing the culling of staff as well as the shuttering of its Astra-producing site in Antwerp – a development that led to increasingly strained industrial relations as closure last December approached.

“Dan Akerson hit the nail on the head…it was not just the money it was the statement that was made,” said Reilly. “The clouds above Opel/Vauxhall have lifted and people don’t ask any more are we going to survive? During the next year or so, we will be rewarded for our patience.”

The two CEOs appearance together today in Geneva was something of a surprise – the event had been billed as Akerson only – but the GM chief made references several times to his support for the Opel/Vauxhall division.

“It has been reported I am impatient,” said Akerson. “Any time you are losing money he [Reilly] is impatient too. We are all on the same page with what we want to accomplish – our goal is to break even, less restructuring costs.

“We have demonstrated a fair degree of optimism with Opel/Vauxhall – I hope our patience is rewarded – there is a steady hand at the helm here.”