CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann Confident That Opel Will Survive With the New Attack Plan image

Karl-Thomas Neumann, Opel’s new CEO, said he can revive the loss-making brand if he gets plenty of help from GM.

“We have a new leadership team, a 10-year plan … and we have financing from GM in Detroit that not only allows us to cover our losses but also to invest billions of euros into new product,” Neumann told reporters at the Geneva auto show last week.

Neumann became Opel’s CEO on March 1st and said he would have refused the job if he didn’t believe GM executives were committed to investing in the automaker’s turnaround plan. GM CEO Dan Akerson said many times that Opel is not for sale and that GM believes it can revive the European unit. This was not enough to stop rumors that GM might unload Opel or put it into a JV with other automakers such as Fiat or PSA Peugeot Citroen.

When taking the job Neumann said he has three main priorities: to introduce 23 redesigned or new vehicles by 2016, such as the Opel Mokka and Adam minicar, to cut costs and reduce unused capacity, especially in Germany and to change Opel’s culture as he believes that the automaker has been plagued by complacency.

“I hope today you have not seen the typical Opel guy who looks at his shoes and is really disappointed and complaining,” he said. “We are in attack mode. We want to tell everybody inside and outside that we can make it.”