GM Europe has a new production chief image

General Motors appointed its Asian manufacturing head, Phil Kienle, in charge of production at automaker’s European Opel/Vauxhall division.

General Motors has high hopes for its European operations this year, as the Detroit-based automakers targets to finally make some profit after a decade of losses. Opel already announced the start of the offensive in the region, by preparing to launch a new battery electric car next year, the Ampera-e, as part of wider and daring plan of deploying 29 new models between 2016 and 2020. To make sure that the strategy will be implemented according to GM’s vision, the company named Phil Kienle as new production chief in Europe. He is currently GM China Manufacturing Vice President and he succeeds Peter Thom, who was appointed North America Quality Vice President, effective March 1. Kienle’s assignments at GM International have included manufacturing operations in Korea, Australia, Africa, Asia, Uzbekistan and China. Kienle brings more than 30 years of global leadership experience in all core manufacturing functions including general assembly, paint, plant engineering, press, body and powertrain, the automaker said in a statement. “Phil Kienle’s strong leadership and global manufacturing experience comes at a critical time for our operations in Europe.”

Separately, the automaker also announced it has renamed its powertrain unit after 24 years to GM Global Propulsion Systems, for a better reflection of industry trends and its evolution over the years. “Gone are the days when a simple gasoline engine and a simple transmission are all a vehicle needs,” Dan Nicholson, Global Propulsion Systems vice president, said. “The name-change reflects the new and larger scope as we head into a future of propulsion systems such as electric drive.” GM’s Global Propulsion Systems employs around 8,600 people that design, develop, engineer and manufacture all propulsion related equipment and controls for GM worldwide. Nearly 50 percent of its engineering workforce is involved in alternative or electrified propulsion systems, the company said.