General Motors has reiterated its stance that its European subsidiary Opel/Vauxhall is not up for sale. GM's marketing chief Joel Ewanick confirmed to Autocar at today's Detroit motor show that GM's executive committee was aware of the continued Opel sale rumours, but insisted GM was fully committed to building a strong Opel.
"I hear the rumours but I can't stop them," he said. "Personally, I want to market the hell out of Opel and GM as a company wants to give them everything possible to make them a success."
Ewanick said Opel needed GM's fully support as "we know how strong VW is". GM previously strongly hit out at VW chief Martin Winterkorn for fanning speculation that GM was considering a sale of Opel to Hyundai.
When asked if he felt the Opel brand was missing anything, Ewanick was defiant in defending GM's European arm. "Really, the car business is very straightforward," he said. "You manage inventory, get pricing right and understand market trends and you're successful. Opel has a lot of product that resonates and it has good dealers."
Ewanick believed any firm would struggle if up against opposition as strong as VW. "I will argue to anyone that building cars is the toughest market of all. You only get one shot at selling to someone every five years, we're all competing for them and the Germans are so strong. It's the same for Chevrolet in the US with Ford and Toyota."
GM has recently appointed Karl-Friedrich Stracke as successor to the retired Nick Reilly as head of GM Europe. He will aim to return Opel to profitability.
"Karl has a big job on his hands but I'm confident he'll do the right things," added Ewanick.