General Motors has finalised earlier announced plans to consolidate and strengthen sales, marketing and aftersales (SM&A) operations in Europe by integrating the existing, fully-owned, sales and distribution organisations of GME, Opel, Vauxhall and Saab into a single multi-brand GM organisation in each country.

This will occur in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK while, in Spain, a recent agreement will allow for a similar set-up, as GM will take over distribution responsibility for Saab from the previous private importer.

In each of these countries, back-office functions, such as finance and personnel, will be fully integrated, while customer-, retailer- and service-facing functions will retain brand-specific approaches.

General Motors said the economies of scale and reduced structural costs of such a multi-brand organisation will provide increased support and opportunities for the individual brands it and plans that the newly-formed multi-brand organisations will largely carry the GM name.

GM said this approach has been proved successful in a variety of markets, including Austria, Russia, and Turkey, and is now being expanded on a broader European basis with implementation by the end of this year.

“We will no longer run stand-alone Opel/Vauxhall and Saab sales operations in each country, operating instead with one GM national sales company with integrated back-office functions,” said GM Europe sales and marketing head Jonathan Browning. “There is significant potential for synergies and know-how transfer between the brands, meaning more brand focus and better service for our customers and dealers.”

In addition, GM Europe is integrating certain of the central SM&A functions of Opel/Vauxhall, Saab, and partially GM Daewoo, such as dealer network development, fleet sales and marketing services to provide more efficient and timely support to the national units.

This sales restructuring effort follows GM Europe’s overall strategy to form a more streamlined and integrated organisation in general.

Most recently GM started to integrate the company’s engineering centres in Europe, in order to leverage specific expertise at any of these development centres for cross-brand applications within GME, and at the same time to eliminate duplication in research and development.