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Many Questions Left Unanswered in General Motors Apparent Plans


AUTO CENTRAL – April 13, 2009: In addition to the confusion over the recent GM announcement concerning their intention to “clearly focus” on four core brands (when they then go on to enumerate five), or why they would embroil themselves in a whole new direction of vehicle with Segway, there are several significant gaps that have to be addressed.

For example, what’s to happen with Opel and Vauxhall, General Motors’ two European brands? We’ve heard rumors about GM’s intention to sell off or shutter Hummer and Saturn, and the “independent” status of Saab, but there doesn’t seem to be any good juicy gossip about Opel and Vauxhall. Are they going to just disappear?

Assuming that the “Two-Company Bankruptcy” solution is the eventual plan chosen by the GM (where one new company takes over the “profitable” business and another new company takes on the “non-profitable” business), which side do these brands fall on? And if they go to the profitable side, doesn’t that then give GM six or seven or eight (depending upon who’s counting) brands to “clearly focus” on?

Last July, General Motors spent a boatload of promotional dollars to push Vauxhall and Opel at the British Motor Show. And last month in Geneva, Carl-Peter Forster, GM Europe’s President, put on a good show unveiling new Opels while celebrating the brand’s 110th anniversary (see video below). Was all this just to heat up the action on the auction block?

Did we forget to ask about On-Star? Oh yeah, then there’s the question of what to do with On-Star, GM’s telematics company. Is this even a profitable division? And, technically, isn’t this another brand that requires some focus? Does this get spun off or sold to a GPS competitor?

Yeah, there’s lots of questions to be answered?