Car industry bosses aren't always tops for charisma but if the two leaders of Opel-Vauxhall's latest turnaround plan - president Steve Girsky and Vice CEO Thomas Sedran - were rated on infectious enthusiasm alone, a planned 10-year job would already be half done.
In an impressive presentation to journalists last night, Girsky's fact-heavy, machine-gun like presentation combined with Sedran's more avuncular style to finally give the lie to suggestions that Opel-Vauxhall wasn't part of GM's core business, and might even be parcelled again for sale.
Girsky, a former auto analyst and adviser to the UAW, America's powerful auto workers union, disarmed his audience by acknowledging that this was the latest of a series of GM Europe rescue plans, but claimed it as 'the first not to include hope as part of the strategy'. It could work even though the market was expected to stay in the doldrums, he argued with conviction.
Integration of Europe into the GM empire was very much the message yesterday - in fact, the management pair suggested Europe would be used to develop a raft of modern product and business solutions that would help similar problems to be solved right across the GM world.
“The former stepchild that no one wanted to kiss has been warmly taken to the heart of the family,” said one Opel official. “We have real hope this time. And don't forget - if Girsky wants to be the leader of our company after Dan Akerson [currently GM’s CEO] it can only happen if he succeeds in Europe first. His arrival might just be the best thing to have happened to Opel-Vauxhall in its modern history...”