Opel (Germany)

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Opel was until recently General Motors' main car-making subsidiary in continental Europe, and the group's largest division outside North America. It operates in the UK under the name Vauxhall with a virtually identical model range. The business has been plagued by problems for two decades. Opel is currently the weakest of Germany's five heritage brands, sitting behind Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW and Audi, and repeated attempts to turn performance around have so far failed to deliver lasting results. The global economic crisis of 2008 came close to forcing GM to cut loose its ailing subsidiary altogether. As GM itself struggled on the brink of bankruptcy, Opel too faced collapse unless it received emergency funding from national governments in the various European markets in which it operates. A draft deal was agreed to sell majority control of the business to Russian and Canadian investors. Yet after months of drawn-out negotiations, that plan was abruptly cancelled by GM's board just days before signature. Instead GM vowed to keep hold of the business, with the hope of achieving a slow but steady recovery. However, years later, only a minimal turnaround had materialised. In a dramatic new turn of events, GM agreed in 2017 to sell Opel to rival PSA of France for a rock-bottom €2.2bn.

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Adbrands Company Profiles provide a detailed analysis of the history and current operations of leading advertisers, agencies and brands worldwide, and include a critical summary which identifies key strengths and weaknesses. Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets. Subscribers may access the following website links:

Adam Opel website


Opel Vauxhall Motors


PSA Groupe

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 4th Oct 2018: McCann scored a major victory in Europe with the recapture of the Opel car account, now owned by PSA Groupe. McCann and Opel had worked together for over 80 years until the business was shifted in 2011 to WPP's Scholz & Friends (and Y&R in some markets), supported by Omnicom's Heimat. McCann's win comes after a review which had been contested by both Publicis Groupe and Havas. The latter manages both Peugeot and Citroen, and had been considered the favourite to add Opel to its portfolio until being eliminated a few weeks ago. Heimat withdrew from the competition after the review was called.

Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Aug 2018: As had been widely anticipated, PSA Groupe called a pitch of global creative for newly acquired Opel, formerly GM Europe. That account is currently managed by WPP's Scholz & Friends and Y&R. It's unclear whether the review also extends to UK sister brand Vauxhall, managed by Mother and McCann. PSA's existing brands Peugeot, Citroen and DS are all handled globally by Havas.

Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd November 2017: PSA Groupe has consolidated media for its newly acquired Opel and Vauxhall car businesses with Mediacom, which won the Peugeot and Citroen accounts across Europe earlier this year. Carat had handled Opel and Vauxhall for more than a decade. Billings are estimated at around €300m.

Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Sep 2017: Tina Mueller, arguably the single most high-profile automobile marketer in Europe, is departing Opel following its acquisition by PSA Peugeot Citroen. She has accepted a position as CEO of pharmacy and beauty retailer Douglas. Her duties at Opel will be split between three current deputies, Tobias Gubitz (strategy & communication), Bjoern Ostendorff (digital and media) and Andreas Marx (product marketing). Peter Kuespert is group managing director of Opel, with additional responsibility for sales & marketing.

Adbrands Weekly Update 3rd Aug 2017: A new auto giant is born. PSA Groupe of France completed the acquisition this week of GM Europe, adding the Opel and Vauxhall brands to its stable alongside Peugeot, Citroen and DS. "We are witnessing the birth of a true European champion today," said PSA CEO Carlos Tavares. "We will assist Opel and Vauxhall’s return to profitability and aim to set new industry benchmarks together. We will unleash the power of these iconic brands and the huge potential of its existing talents. Opel will remain German, Vauxhall will remain British." PSA leapfrogs Renault to become the undisputed #2 in the European car market with around 17% regional share. Volkswagen still leads the pack with over 23% of new registrations, while Renault has 10.5%.

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