After GM recruited former Continental CEO and Volkswagen China boss Karl-Thomas Neumann to take charge at Opel, the brand was edging towards profitability. Despite plowing a further 4 billion euros into the company through the end of last year, the damage done over the previous decade simply was too great. Opel never succeeded in boosting sales far enough to reach the black and finished last year with its 17th straight annual loss.
"This company needs help," PSA boss Carlos Tavares said of Opel at PSA's 2016 financial results conference on Feb. 23. "Making red ink for 10 years and burning 1 billion euros of cash every year is not going to last forever."
Key dates in Opel's history
1862: Adam Opel begins making sewing machines in Ruesselsheim, Germany.
1901: Opel begins jointly producing cars with the French automobile company, Darracq.
1902: The first car built entirely by the Opel brothers goes on sale.
1909: Opel introduces a low-priced car, known as the "Doctor's Car."
1923: Germany's economic crisis forces the closure of the Opel factory.
1924: Opel restarts output with the "Tree Frog" model after studying Henry Ford's production methods.
1929: General Motors buy an 80 percent stake.
1931: Opel becomes a wholly owned GM subsidiary.
1945: More than half of Opel's main factory is destroyed by Allied bombing.
1947: Automobile production resumes.
1948: Post-war, GM reassumes management control.
1962: Opel opens second large factory in Bochum.
1982: Opel Corsa production begins at a new factory in Zaragoza, Spain.
1992: State-of-the-art plant opens in Eisenach in the former East Germany.
1998: Redesigned Opel Astra becomes GM's best-selling car in Europe.