RUESSELSHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - General Motors Co's <GM. N> new chief executive, Mary Barra, on Monday said lossmaking European unit Opel was a vital part of the automaker.

"It is no accident that I chose to come to Germany. I thought it was very important to reinforce my commitment to Opel, Opel is clearly a vital part of our company," said Barra, who took the top job earlier this month.

In April 2013, General Motors said it would invest 4 billion euros ($5.5 billion) to fund 23 new models and 13 new engines by 2016 to overhaul Opel's ageing product range.

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Victoria Bryan)

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