It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Just under two years ago, when Brit Nick Reilly announced the pain before the gain bound up in a $15 billion, five-year recovery plan for Opel and Vauxhall, the commitment was clear: "We will break even in 2011, and be in profit by 2012".
He probably couldn’t have predicted the lingering torpor of the European market back then, but even so, the plan isn’t exactly on course. Opel/Vauxhall announced a few weeks ago that it expects to lose somewhere between $1.5- and $1.8billion this year – double its losses for 2011. Break even has been put back to 2015.
Things don’t look good for a firm that fairly recently and regularly topped the UK market share chart. But I can’t help thinking that the perception of the company’s worrying condition has been made even worse this year by some disappointing products and bad strategy.
Parent company GM Europe has had three presidents in 2012, and it’s yet to announce a permanent replacement for outgoing design boss Mark Adams (the man who was supposed the take the job, David Lyon, abruptly left the company in July). The current man in overall charge, Dan Akerson, takes the opportunity to reassure the press whenever he can that Opel/Vauxhall will not be sold. I’m sure it won’t – but at some point the crisis management has to stop, and the brave new world has to begin.