Blog: Dave LeggettCNN interview - GM Europe

Dave Leggett | 30 April 2003

If you catch CNN's business output today, you may see snatches of me being interviewed about GM in Europe (it'll probably be 'blink and you'll miss it'). It was part of the 100 year anniversary thing. We did the interview in a blustery street in London yesterday. Hope I got the main points across but you never know how the stuff will be edited. The main points - GM in Europe is still losing money but less now than a year ago. Breakeven for 2003 will be tough to achieve given general market conditions, but at least Opel/Vauxhall is looking better on product these days which will be helping to counter the two brands' 'boring' tag. More flair and certainly versatility - Zafira (which outwitted Ford), Meriva (quick to the market and built in Brazil) and now the intriguing Vectra-based Signum. And there are niches too - VX220, upcoming Tigra, Ozzie Holden Monaro. Under-nourished Saab is getting serious too, working with Subaru on getting a 9-2 to market quickly.

In Europe, GM has reduced its cost base and there's more to come - Saab's sales operations being merged with Vauxhall/Opel, multi-franchise dealerships. All in all, not a bad effort that should see GM at least recovering share. We didn't get on to Fiat...

But in a classic 'two for one' offer, they asked if I could offer some thoughts for something else they were doing on motorhomes in Britain - a growing market apparently. Cue lots of talk about favourable demographics. Does Jack Nicholson really drive around the US in a Winnebago in real life? These things are not as uncool as they once were, but in Britain, caravans and motorhomes have an image problem that will take time to shed. There again, maybe when you hit 55 years of age you suddenly want one. And with the greying of the population maybe that's all that matters.


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