General Motors(GM) said Tuesday that it had completed the sale of its European division to French automaker PSA Groupe, marking the end of a rocky tenure that delivered engineering wins but left a yearly stain on the company’s finances.
GM reached the deal to sell the European unit in March for 16 consecutive yearly losses there.
The deal instantly vaults the buyer, owner of French automotive brand Peugeot, into second place in Europe, with 17% market share — behind only Volkswagen Group.
GM’s decision to sell the Germany-based Opel and United Kingdom-based Vauxhall brands is one of several moves the automaker has made to exit markets where it isn’t making money or where it has a small market share. CEO Mary Barra has won praise for her willingness to pare down GM’s global operations to bolster profitability.
“We’ve taken another bold step in our ongoing work to transform GM,” GM President Dan Ammann said in a statement. “This transaction allows us to sharply focus our resources on higher-return opportunities as we expand our technical and business leadership in the future of mobility.”
GM said it is still in the process of completing the sale of its European financial operations to Peugeot Groupe and BNP Paribas. The sale of that division is expected to close later this year.
The PSA deal involves all of Opel and Vauxhall’s automotive operations, including the brands, six assembly and five component-manufacturing plants, and an engineering center in Rüsselsheim, Germany. The move covers about 40,000 employees.
PSA Groupe CEO Carlos Tavares has vowed to improve the profitability of Opel and Vauxhall.
GM also has discontinued sales of mainstream Chevrolet models in Europe in 2015, exited Russia in 2015, ended manufacturing in Australia in 2016 and said earlier this year it would sell its operations in South Africa and stop selling cars in India.
“Our recent restructuring actions will allow us to deploy resources and capital to higher return opportunities, such as refreshing our profitable global SUV and U.S. full-size truck portfolios and our global emerging-market vehicle program,” Barra said told analysts last week during a conference call.