Opel Automobile GmbH is a German car manufacturer, a subsidiary of the French carmaker PSA Group since 1 August 2017. In March 2017, the PSA Group agreed to buy Opel from General Motors. The acquisition was approved by the regulatory authorities of the European Commission in July 2017.
Opel’s headquarters are located in Rüsselsheim am Main, Hesse, Germany. The company designs, designs, manufactures and distributes Opel cars, light commercial vehicles and spare parts in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Vehicles designed and manufactured by Opel are also sold under the Vauxhall brand in Great Britain, the Buick brand in the United States, Canada, Mexico and China and the Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand. Opel traces its roots to a sewing machine manufacturer founded by Adam Opel in 1862. The company began manufacturing bicycles in 1886 and produced its first car in 1899.
Opel became a public limited company in 1929; General Motors acquired a controlling interest in Opel the same year. General Motors took full control in 1931. During the 1970s and 1980s, the Vauxhall and Opel ranges were rationalized in a consistent range across Europe. Opel retired from China, where it had a network of 22 dealers, in early 2015, after General Motors decided to withdraw its Chevrolet brand from Europe starting in 2016.
Opel had emerged as the strongest of GM’s two European brands; Vauxhall was the third best-selling brand in Britain after the British Motor Corporation but had a modest impact elsewhere. The two companies were direct competitors outside their respective national markets but reflecting Ford’s decision to merge its British and German subsidiaries in the late 1960s, GM followed the same precedent. Opel and Vauxhall have worked freely before, but serious efforts to merge operations and product families of the two companies into one did not begin until the 1970s, which replaced Vauxhall’s full line of products for built vehicles on platforms based on Opel, the only exception to the rule is the Bedford CF van, the only Vauxhall that has been marketed as an Opel on the mainland. In the early 1980s, the two brands were in force, one and the same.
In the 1990s, Opel was considered the cash cow of GM, with profit margins similar to those of Toyota. Opel’s earnings helped offset GM’s losses in North America and fund GM’s expansion in Asia. 1999 was the last time that Opel was profitable for the whole year. Following the global financial crisis of 2008, on September 10, 2009, GM agreed to sell 55% of the capital of Opel to the Magna group with the agreement of the German government. The agreement was then canceled. With the ongoing restructuring plans, Opel has announced the closure of its Antwerp plant in Belgium by the end of 2010.
In 2010, Opel announced that it would invest about 11 billion euros over the next five years. One billion euros of this amount is intended solely for the development of innovative engines and transmissions and fuel economy. On February 29, 2012, Opel announced the creation of a major alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroën, prompting GM to take a 7% stake in PSA, becoming the second largest shareholder after the Peugeot PSA family. The alliance was expected to generate savings of $ 2 billion per year through a shared platform, joint procurement and other economies of scale.
In December 2013, GM sold its 7% stake in PSA for £ 250 million after the cost-saving plans were not as successful. It was said that Opel was among the most aggressive discount stores in Europe on the mass market. GM recorded a loss of US $ 257 million in 2016 from its European operations. It is reported that GM has lost about 20 billion dollars in Europe since 1999. The Opel plant in Bochum closed in December 2014 after 52 years of activity due to overcapacity.
In March 2017, the PSA Group agreed to buy Opel and its British sister Vauxhall and its European General Motors car loans the US $ 2,200 million, in exchange, General Motors pay PSA 3,200 million US for future pension obligations and will continue to manage $ 9.8 billion in existing pension plans. In addition, GM is responsible for paying approximately $ 400 million annually for 15 years to fund existing pension plans in Britain and Germany.