Highlights include launching all future products on PSA platforms - including an all-new Corsa in 2019 - and setting the goal of keeping all current plants including Ellesmere Port and Luton in the UK open, although potentially on altered terms.
Vauxhall and Opel declared losses of £190 million in the second quarter of 2017; daily losses at the firm under GM ownership were estimated to be in the region of £3m on average. PSA Group announced its plans to take over Vauxhall and Opel from parent company GM in March 2017.
Carlos Tavares, the CEO of the PSA Group, has described the need to implement the plan "as a matter of urgency", citing the losses and calling for the workforce, union and suppliers to pull together to find solutions to the issues the firm currently faces.
The announcement, made by newly appointed CEO of Opel Automobile GmbH, Michael Lohscheller, included:
• Setting the goal of returning Vauxhall and Opel to profit by 2020.
• Achieving an operating margin of 2% by 2020. The VW Group achieves around 4%, while PSA hit 7.3% this year. Lohscheller has then set the target of a 6% margin by 2026.
• Instigating measures to make the breakeven point for the firm 800,000 sales a year. Vauxhall and Opel sold 984,000 cars last year but recorded a loss. Its worst year was in 2013, when it sold 824,000 cars.
• Offering electrified versions of all Vauxhall and Opel cars by 2024. This will include a pure electric version of the Corsa and a plug-in hybrid version of the Grandland X.
• A pledge to “modernise” all plants with the goal of keeping them all open. It was acknowledged this might require job cuts, but the stated goal is to make them voluntarily.
• Launching all new Vauxhall and Opel models on PSA’s CMP and EMP2 platforms, including the next, all-new Corsa in 2019. This will reduce the number of platforms in use from nine to two. Powertrain families will reduce from 10 to four.Vauxhalls will also use PSA engines and powertrains. All vehicles will be engineered at Opel’s plant in Rüsselsheim.
• A pledge to launch one new major new model per year; counting bodystyles, nine new models will be launched by 2020. This will start with a new Combo in 2018 and a new Corsa in 2019.
• Opel will enter more than 20 new export markets by 2022, including China and the Middle East.
In order to achieve these goals, Lohscheller set the target of saving €1.1 billion (£970 million) by 2020 through synergies between the PSA Group and Vauxhall and Opel by 2020 and €1.7 billion (£1.5bn) by 2026. Lohscheller has set Vauxhall and Opel the target of reducing the costs of manufacturing each car it makes by €700 (£618) by 2020.
While Lohscheller pledged to try to keep factories open, he acknowledged that the need to improve competitiveness meant that model line production would move as Vauxhall and Opel plants were kitted to build PSA-platformed vehicles.
While there was no specific reference to the UK’s Ellesmere and Luton plants, the future of which have been in the spotlight in the wake of the Brexit vote, the Vauxhall and Opel statement read: “The plan is designed with the clear intention to maintain all plants and refrain from forced redundancies in Europe.
“The necessary and sustainable reduction of labour costs shall be reached with thoughtful measures such as innovative working time concepts, voluntary programs or early retirement schemes.”