Fleet News

European financial viability course set by GM

A MAJOR restructuring of national sales companies by General Motors will see Saab increasingly leverage Vauxhall's expertise in the UK fleet market. The restructuring was announced by General Motors Europe president Mike Burns at the Geneva Motor Show as he explained how the world's largest vehicle manufacturer will return financial viability to its European operations.

Sales reductions, shifts in customer vehicle choices and over-capacity combined to lead General Motors Europe to record a $257 million loss in Europe last year. 'A result we are not proud of; but we are not looking for excuses,' said Burns. Instead, he said, the company was reacting through a range of initiatives.

They include: a new product offensive, the realisation of benefits of its alliance with Fiat in which General Motors has a 20% stake and cost reductions which had resulted in the 2002 ending of car production in Luton but the transformation of Ellesmere Port into a 'flex' plant producing both Vauxhall Astra and the new Vectra from next year.

However, perhaps the largest initiative to impact on the UK fleet market will be the consolidation of Vauxhall and Saab organisations under a General Motors 'umbrella organisation'. Burns said: 'This will be a reflection of General Motors increasingly becoming a multi-brand organisation.'

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