New line-up planned but major job losses not ruled out
2 June 2009

Opel is set to become a global brand and return to profit by 2011, the boss of prospective owner Magna believes.

The Canadian car parts company plans to revamp the Opel range with “lots of new cars in the pipeline” and target key markets like Russia, Magna co-CEO Siegfried Wolf said.

Magna agrees Vauxhall/Opel deal

A short history of Magna

Speaking in an interview in Berlin, Wolf added: “It’s not just the volume alone that matters. Opel has good management. In combination with Magna, I‘m quite sure they’ll find the right way to become competitive again.”

However, he also hinted that jobs in the UK could be in jeapordy.

Wolf said the future of Opel’s four assembly plants in Germany is “not in question”, but under the new plans 11,000 jobs across Europe, including 2600 in Germany, could disappear.

When asked about the factory in Luton, he said: “At the end of the day, companies have to profitable. Companies that not profitable are not good for society.”

Last week the German government approved a deal for a Magna-led consortium to take a majority stake in Vauxhall/Opel.

Under the deal Magna will take a 20 per cent stake in Opel, the Russian-owned Sberbank will take a 35 per cent stake, giving their consortium a majority.

GM will retain a 35 per cent holding, while the remaining 10 per cent will go to Opel employees.

Thanks to the Russian input a foothold in this market could be Magna’s first priority.

“Russia will have a hard landing during the next while but I see them recovering quickly from the global recession," Wolf said.

“I’m convinced the Russian people will have the necessary funds to buy cars.”

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