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November 8, 2018

PSA says Opel/Vauxhall “back on course”

PSA says Opel/Vauxhall is "back on course" one year after presenting its Pace plan, insisting the division will be profitable, electric and global.

By Rhodri Morgan

PSA says Opel/Vauxhall is “back on course” one year after presenting its Pace plan, insisting the division will be profitable, electric and global.

“We have managed to reorganise ourselves in the last 12 months and changed our mindset,” said Opel CEO, Michael Lohscheller. “We posted a profit of EUR502m (US$573m) in the first six months of 2018 and we are continuing to work hard on our success.”

Opel cut its fixed costs by 28% in the first half of the year, while agreements on the improvement of competitiveness were signed with the social partners at all sites. This has enabled an improvement of the labour costs-to-revenue ratio.

The company also streamlined senior management: such positions were cut by a quarter during the course of the last year, while Opel added it “clearly stands by its goal of avoiding plant closures.” Investments are being made in the various sites and multiple plants have already received new product allocations.

Opel is also benefiting from the integration into Groupe PSA. Vehicles based on the shared Multi Energy Platforms are up to 50% more cost efficient in development, maintains the automaker, while at the same time improving quality.

Synergies are also being achieved in other areas of the company – such as by the creation of integrated sales structures in many European countries, as well as global functions.

The company will bring a total of eight new models to market in the next two years and there will be an electric version of every Opel model in 2024. “This offensive will strongly contribute to meeting the strict CO2 limits set by the EU,” added Lohscheller.

Opel will also contribute to a charging infrastructure project at the company’s headquarters together with partners such as the city of Rüsselsheim.

“Opel will stay German, Vauxhall will stay British,” noted Lohscheller. “We will continue to clearly differentiate ourselves from our French sister brands.”

In the mid-term, the company wants to increase its light commercial vehicle segment to the same level as that in the passenger car sector. This will be made possible by improvements to the dealer contracts (every Opel dealer can now also sell light commercial vehicles) and a renewed portfolio.

The offensive on non-European export markets is also gaining momentum. New contracts have been signed with importers to grow in many countries such as Morocco, Tunisia or South Africa. Already in the course of this month, Opel will start assembly of the Grandland X for the African market in a new plant in Namibia.

A full service leasing offer – under the roof of the Groupe PSA mobility brand Free2Move – was also launched in European markets in recent weeks.

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