NYT: G.M.’s Road From Prosperity to Crisis

NYT offers a very nice visualization of the history of US auto giant GM and the milestones which lead them from riches to rags..

NYT: G.M.’s Road From Prosperity to Crisis

Opel goes to Magna and Sberbank

The uncertainty is over.
Although many feared that after endless meetings and discussion GM would not give away Opel but instead keep it to rebuild GM, it will finally go to Magna and its investors. Although this put an end to endless speculations, many workers at Opel now fear for their jobs. German Minister of Economics Affairs, zu Guttenberg, confirmed rumors that Magna will lay off more workers than initially expected. Latest news are speaking of up to 4,500 jobs that will be cut in Germany. Most of these will be in the area of production but also administrative job will fall away.
But Opel also has demands against former owner GM. Until recently GM decided in which countires Opel models are to be sold. It took long until Opel models could be sold in the US under its American brand Saturn. But still today, many Europeans are wondering why many of those attractive and efficient German Opel models never made their way into the American market. The reason seems obvious: cannibalisation. Why buy a Chevrolet when you can have the technologically superior European Opel models? Let’s hope Opel under Magna will have the possibility to enter more international markets that bear opportunities.

Opel to change its claim – once again…

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Amidst all the confusion about the future of Opel, the marketing experts of Interbrand have been asked to develop a new claim for the shaken automaker Opel. According to today’s article on, the new claim was inspired by the shirts Opel workers used to wear while protesting for a soon and satisfying concept for Opel. „We live cars“ may see its official debut at the IAA in Frankfurt which will open its gates on September, 17. The new claim is expected to be accompanied by a remake of the Opel Blitz brand mark.

I argue that claims should show the same consistency as the brand as a whole. Too many quick and not well thought of changes weaken a brand’s perception in the eyes of the consumer. In the ideal long-run marketing strategy all is in line: The logo, the claim and the values a product represents. BMW for example has only slightly changed its logo over the years, and for centuries, driving pleasure has remained the central element of any BMW communication. The same consistency can be found in their cars: Whether a 635 CSI, a 2002, or the latest X1, sportiness and pleasure are still central facets of the BMW brand.

To me personally, Opel represents German automobile history. Not in the negative sense. There is still a lot of sympathy for this brand. And in recent times, this has been paired with fair value and decent quality. With the Opel Insignia and the new Astra, asthetic design also returned, and paved the way for a new generation of Opels. Given, there will we one.

As it looks now, GM has discovered that within its corporation Opel is a diamond in the rough that might also lay the foundation for a GM future. But I am convinced many people at Opel are tired of the ignorant and self-aggrandizing GM managers…

The dream: Let Opel take over GM and clean up this American mess of a carmaker.

Link to the cited ftd article: