PNG images: Opel
Opel Automobile GmbH is a German automobile manufacturer, a subsidiary of the French automobile manufacturer Groupe PSA since 1 August 2017. In March 2017, Groupe PSA agreed to acquire Opel from General Motors. The acquisition was approved by the European Commission regulatory authorities in July 2017. Opel's headquarters are in Rüsselsheim am Main, Hesse, Germany. The company designs, engineers, manufactures and distributes Opel-branded passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles, and vehicle parts for distribution in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. Opel designed and manufactured vehicles 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.
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By the 1970s, Opel had emerged as the stronger of GM's two European brands; Vauxhall was the third-best selling brand in Great Britain after the British Motor Corporation (later British Leyland), but made only a modest impact elsewhere. The two companies were direct competitors outside of each other's respective home markets, but mirroring Ford's decision to merge its British and German subsidiaries in the late 1960s, GM followed the same precedent. Opel and Vauxhall had loosely collaborated before, but serious efforts to merge the two companies' operations and product families into one did not start until the 1970s - which had Vauxhall's complete product line replaced by vehicles built on Opel-based platforms - the only exception to the rule being the Bedford CF panel van, the only solely Vauxhall design which was marketed as an Opel on the Continent. By the turn of the 1980s, the two brands were in effect, one and the same.
Opel's first turbocharged car was the Opel Rekord 2.3 TD, first shown at Geneva in March 1984.
In the 1990s, Opel was considered to be GM's cash cow, with profit margins similar to that of Toyota. Opel's profit helped to offset GM's losses in North America and to fund GM's expansion into Asia. Year 1999 was the last time when Opel was profitable for the full year.
Following the 2008 global financial crisis, on 10 September 2009, GM agreed to sell a 55% stake in Opel to the Magna group with the approval of the German government. The deal was later called off.
With ongoing restructuring plans, Opel announced the closure of its Antwerp plant in Belgium by the end of 2010.
In 2010, Opel announced that it will invest around €11 billion in the next five years. €1 billion of that is designated solely for the development of innovative and fuel-saving engines and transmissions.
On 29 February 2012, Opel announced the creation of a major alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroen resulting in GM taking a 7% share of PSA, becoming PSA's second-largest shareholder after the Peugeot family. The alliance was intended to enable $2 billion per year of cost savings through platform sharing, common purchasing, and other economies of scale. In December 2013, GM sold its 7% interest in PSA for £250 million, after plans of cost savings were not as successful. Opel was said to be among Europe's most aggressive discounters in mass-market. GM reported a 2016 loss of US$257 million from its European operations. It is reported that GM has lost about US$20 billion in Europe since 1999.
Opel's plant in Bochum closed in December 2014, after 52 years of activity, due to overcapacity.