Despite being under new owners, PSA Group, Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann said he will remain in his job, and the company will press forward with plans for more EV’s and a flagship SUV, Neumann told a German motoring magazine.
“It is important for me to stand before employees and show leadership. I have done this in the past and will continue to do so,” he said. Neumann also added that he will be working with PSA’s CEO Carlos Tavares. “I think we have great respect for each other. That is why I see a good foundation for continued cooperation,” he continued.
Even though their future products will be underpinned by PSA’s platforms, rather than General Motors, Neumann said Opel will continue to have its own leadership and design, and continue to develop its own cars. And the transfer to PSA platforms will take several years, he said.
Neumann said that Opel plans more EV’s alongside the Ampera-e long-range EV, a sister model to the Chevrolet Bolt.
Opel will be allowed to sell the current version and the follow up versions of the Ampera-e, he said.
The automaker will continue with its plans to launch a new SUV that will be its second flagship model alongside the Insignia midsize sedan, Neumann said.
The company plans to launch all 7 new models planned as part of its biggest ever product offensive, he said.
Opel’s introduction to a new market: China
Neumann said he was originally skeptical about introducing the Opel brand to China. “The Chinese market is no longer the cure-all to help solve the problems on all the other markets,” he said.
However, Neumann said his first priority would be to make Opel profitable in Europe by deepening cooperation with PSA, instead of using their resources to build the company up in Asia immediately.
PSA agreed to buy Opel earlier this month, in a deal with GM. PSA purchased Opel and its UK Vauxhall business valuing the business at 2.2 billion euros ($2.3 billion), which raised questions about the future for Neumann.
At a press conference to announce the deal, Tavares said: “It is our intention to make sure Mr. Neumann continues the excellent work he has been doing. We trust that he will be in the best position to lead the turnaround and a profitable future for Opel.”
PSA has pledged to run Opel as a separate company, maintaining separate management but meanwhile, exploring opportunities to expand sales of Opel cars beyond its current Europe market.