Burns Takes On GM-Europe

The new president of General Motors-Europe, Michael Burns, is finding himself behind the wheel of a fast-revving and well-tuned business -- thanks partly to predecessor Richard Donnelly's four years of impressive accomplishments.

For example, GM's Opel subsidiary is operating one of Europe's most efficient auto plants at Eisenbach, in eastern Germany. Meanwhile, in Britain, the GM Vauxhall subsidiary is generating new jobs and investment. Last year GM achieved record growth in Europe, with output of 1.83 million vehicles, sales of US$24.1 billion, and earnings of $471 million. However, there is this bump in the road: Although GM has 80,000 employees and plants in 11 countries in Europe, it still has a way to go to catch up with Volkswagen AG, the continent's No. 1 vehicle maker.

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