By Edward Taylor
RUESSELSHEIM, Germany May 6 General Motors'
lossmaking European carmaker Opel expects to boost the
proportion of cars sold on financing with the offer of cheaper
loans and leasing deals now that it has taken its German banking
licence back in-house, it said on Monday.
Last month the U.S. group's financing subsidiary GM
Financial Company Inc launched its new 'Opel
Financial Services' brand, having bought back the European and
other international operations of its former financial services
affiliate Ally Financial, which held the German banking
"The launch of Opel Financial Services was a very important
step for our brand and for our product offensive. Opel was not
always in a position to make the best financing offer. We did
not have our own bank, like competitors," Opel's finance chief
Michael Lohscheller said at a press conference at Opel's
headquarters on Monday.
As part of the $4.2 billion acquisition deal with Ally
Financial, which was announced in November last year and
partially closed last month, GM Financial has attributed $1.7
billion to its European financing operations, Lohscheller said.
The partial closing of the deal in April gives GM Financial
the German banking licence and this has given it more favourable
refinancing opportunities, Opel said.
As a result, Opel now hopes to raise the proportion of cars
sold using financing to above the current level of 40 percent.
Some competitors are able to sell up to 50 percent of their
vehicles through financing offers.
In all GM has pledged to invest another 4 billion euros
($5.2 billion) in Opel by the end of 2016 to support new model
launches, renewing a commitment to the ailing European brand.
GM's chief executive Dan Akerson has said the investment
will help it increase market share by funding the development
and launch of 23 new models and 13 new engines through 2016.
But the company's adjusted operating loss in Europe widened
to $1.8 billion last year from $700 million in 2011 and it only
expects to move back into profit in the middle of the decade.
Last month Germany's VDA industry association said its new
car market may stabilise in the second quarter after a further
plunge in sales in the first quarter mirrored declines in other
key European regions.