General
Motors president and CEO Rick Wagoner says the restructuring of the company’s
struggling European operations is progressing as well as can be expected.

"It’s a tough situation to turn around and we won’t change things overnight,"
he told journalists at the Geneva Motor Show today.

Wagoner said the company "has already made "quite a bit of preogress
this year".

CEO
Rick Wagoner

Referring to the forthcoming closure of the British Vectra factory and reduced
workforces in European plants, Wagoner said: "We’ve taken the tough actions
now and we appreciate they’ve affected lots of people but we had to do these
things to turn the company around."

He noted that GM had made "significant improvements in quality" and
that the alliance with Fiat was already bringing some improvements to GM Europe’s
cost structure.

"We had too much cost but we’re working on ways to reduce our fixed and
material costs – a lot of that will come through new design," Wagoner said.

"[The restructure] won’t be easy but it’s very do-able; there’s a lot
of capacity and history [in our European operations] and I know it can be done."
GM Europe president Michael Burns denied that there had been problems with the
Fiat alliance.

"The relationship is quite good and we are making lots of progress with
lots of interchange between the two companies," he said.

"There’s no turmoil but of course there are disagreements but these are
resolved effectively.

"Overall, we are very pleased with the Fiat alliance," Burns said.