Archive for the 'Opel' Category

A Strategy for GM

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009


The General Motors brands

The General Motors brands



In a recent speech, Obama asked the question, does the GM proposal do enough to consolidate the unprofitable marques. The answer is obviously “no”. In fact, the proposal generated by GM did little to immediate liquidate assets for any of the brands, including Hummer, Saab, and Saturn, which are the first to go. GM is undoubtedly looking for buyers, but what happens when they cannot get adequate capital? You guessed it, more bailout money. This analysis will focus solely on brand management. Financial management, include dealership reductions will not really be covered here.

Perhaps a better strategy for GM is to spin-off Hummer and pitch it back to the military as was originally intended, then force the Swedes to take back Saab (the will do so of course because of their near-socialist governmental structure), then merge Opel and Vauxall, and Saturn, and sell it to Fiat. This would create a cross-border carmaker with particular focus on the low-end green market. Fiat has recently stated that it is interested in buying Opel anyway.

Under this plan, GM assesses the whole product/brand portfolio, not just the three “lesser” American marques. Selling Buick to the Chinese, who seem to think that their country is ageing and could care less about styling, could be the deal of the century. The Chinese buy more Buicks than pretty much anyone else anyway. GMC could stay on as GM’s sole “truck, Van, and SUV maker”. They seem to have competency in building large hefty vehicles anyway. That leaves Pontiac, Chevrolet, and Cadillac as the remaining core assets. GM has officially decided to eliminate the Pontiac division. Some have suggested that Pontiac become a “specialty” vehicles division, producing cars like the Firebird. That may be a waste, however. Perhaps it is better to consider Pontiac taking over the “tuning” segment much in the same way that BMW’s M-division, and Daimler Mercedes’ AMG unit have done. Does your Caddy need more power? Send it to the Pontiac tuning factory. Something like that would give Pontiac a decidedly sporty and meaningful position in the portfolio. This could also position Pontiac to bring out experimental and limited edition cars. Perhaps this division could introduce cars that run purely on hydrogen. (more…)

An opportunity lost?

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Ok, we admit that US$1.3 billion for Germany’s Opel brand may or may not be a fair number. But earlier in the week CNET reported on a story that largely went unnoticed. 

Germany company SolarWorld, a maker/developer of solar panels as well as solar-based cars has offered to help out failing automaker GM. Last week we reported on GM’s failed attempt to secure billions in government loans. This week, we’ve posted a Saturday Night Live spoof of the hearing.

Much more serious is CEO Frank Asbeck’s interest in GM’s German division Adam Opel. It’s nearly surprising that GM might be able to unload one of its divisions, let alone to a buyer that might be able to something very extraordinary with it.

GM should take the offer, whatever it is. The company is obviously not capable of developing energy-friendly cars of its own, so they might as well do us all a favour and unload the company to someone that can do the job. US$1,300,000,000 you say? Done deal!



Transcript of SolarWorld CEO Frank Asbeck’s interview (German)