Updated: Opel believes it can still steer its path despite the start of the legal takeover by the PSA Group

Opel boss Karl-Thomas Neumann believes the firm has control of its destiny following the start of formal takeover proceedings by the PSA Group.

The combination of CitroënDS, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall will make the firm the second largest car maker in Europe after the Volkswagen Group, and Neumann believes that scale will be critical in a period of massive change for the car industry.

PSA purchase of Opel and Vauxhall completed

“There is enormous change, and we need to address it, that much has always been clear,” he said. “This deal is just the beginning, and it gives us the scale to set out priorities and course.

“Of course, there is too much capacity - for us and many of Europe’s car makers. But our objective is clear - to grow and fill the capacity; that is what winners will do, and it is the losers who will have to close factories. We want to be winners.

“There is nervousness everywhere now - Germany, France, Great Britain, Spain, wherever we have a plant - but the absolutely clearest message is that the only way to keep open is to be successful. We have to take our destiny in our own hands, but at least we are doing that within the framework of a stronger-set up. If we achieve that then there won’t be any problems.”

Neumann expects there to be a period of six months now while a group of senior managers set up in the wake of the sale set out a clear business strategy for the new business. Once that is done, and the sale formally agreed and approved by authorities, he then expects the company to be in a position to make quick decisions.

“PSA has already turned itself around and is the most profitable mass-market brand out there,” he said. “Through the Crossland X and Grandland X I can see what they have achieved, and the economies of scale they can offer. We are complimentary brands that don’t really compete in the same markets. The opportunities for us are obvious.

“There are no guarantees - we don’t live in a world of guarantees. But I can see opportunities that weren’t there before.”

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Comments
4

7 March 2017
Good job-hunting talk after nearly 20 years of losses

8 March 2017
I can see only one way out of this for Opel/ Vauxhall. Firstly they need to recognise Vauxhall's strength. Namely that it has more market share in the U.K. than Opel has in any other market. This indicates that killing the Vauxhall brand for the Opel brand would be a backward move. Opel is actually the weaker of the two. Secondly they should give Vauxhall autonomy and let it build its own models based on PSA architecture. The gamble is that Vauxhall then needs to try and push a bit more upmarket into the sort of area that Rover once tried to occupy but as an unashamedly modern British brand with a heavy focus on making SUVs and an insignia sized car. Vauxhall should then be sold via the entire PSA/ Opel network, with Opel then being launched in the U.K. out of Vauxhall dealers. This way when Britain does Brexit Vauxhall can target markets which Britain has special free trade agreements with that the rest of the group does not. It should also help to drive Luton and Ellesmere Port to capacity.

9 March 2017
Vauxhall has more market share in the UK because you can pick up a year old Insignia with a few thousand on the clock for about 9K at the car supermarkets.
poon

8 March 2017
Both brands need to offer more desirable cars - simple as. After the 406 Peugeot turned out such utter tripe for years, flimsy build quality combined with gopping looks. Vauxhall/Opel dropped the ball with the introduction of the Vectra, throwing away a fine reputation for engineering excellence - and yes, people notice that. There then followed Corsa's and Astra's dull to the point of tedium. The new Astra looks better, but buyers don't want every day tedium, they want thier car to make them feel good when they use it, not just be a sound financial mechanism. When Donald Trump recently blasted foreign car importers, BMW rather correctly responded with "well, build cars your consumers want to buy." Vauxhall and PSA need to learn the same lesson - why should they expect customers to buy junk?

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