GM Apparently Wants To Keep Opel

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GM Apparently Wants To Keep Opel
GM Apparently Wants To Keep Opel

A sale of the Rüsselsheim car manufacturer Opel may not come about after all. The parent company is apparently planning to keep its German subsidiary.

A spectacular turnaround is possible in the struggle for Opel: According to newspaper reports, the American car company General Motors (GM) is looking into whether it should keep its previous daughter. The GM board of directors has instructed the management to examine alternatives to an Opel sale, wrote the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, citing informed persons. This includes a financing plan with a volume of 4.3 billion dollars (around 3 billion euros) to get Opel and its British sister brand Vauxhall as a GM subsidiary back on their toes. GM boss Fritz Henderson should set the financing in motion by the beginning of September, it said.

Warning of factory closures

The billions could come from the US state and governments of European countries, including Great Britain and Spain, reported the "Financial Times". Last week in these countries there was criticism of the German government's decision to single-handedly advance the loan for Opel of 4.5 billion euros if GM opts for Magna. At the Opel sites in Belgium, Poland, Great Britain and Spain, it is feared that they could be more affected by fun measures than the German plants.

Opel works council chief Klaus Franz warned of plant closures in Europe if General Motors still retains control of Opel. "With three billion, this company cannot be set up for the future," Franz told the dpa audio service. This means deletions in the model range and plant closures in Europe. Franz emphasized that the employees would not accept staying with GM. The Opel workforce would then demand back the contributions made to the restructuring of the company.

Decision postponed

Last Friday, the GM board of directors postponed a decision on the sale of Opel to the Austrian-Canadian supplier Magna and its Russian partners, which was also supported by Henderson. This caused anger among the German government, which wants to solve the Opel problem before the federal election. GM was dissatisfied with the purchase offer from Magna, wrote the Financial Times.

Berlin called on GM to hold a top meeting on Monday. The US company wants to send a top manager to Germany this week. According to information from corporate circles, this is likely to be Henderson or GM negotiator John Smith. According to information from Berlin, a conversation with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) is not planned.

Opel is important for GM, among other things, because of the development center in Rüsselsheim, where the platform for all GM mid-range cars is being developed and the company's hope, the electric car Chevy Volt, was designed largely by German engineers.

Politically, the matter is made even more delicate by the fact that the new GM group has been majority-controlled by the US government since the bankruptcy in the summer. Washington has pumped around $ 50 billion into the company, which has been making losses for years. The new GM course is also likely to cause displeasure in Russia, as Moscow is involved in the planned deal through the state-owned Sberbank.

US government is staying out of it

According to official information, US President Barack Obama does not want to interfere in GM's decision on the future of Opel. Obama thinks that the current business decisions of the automaker would have to be made by the GM managers themselves, the deputy spokesman for the White House, Bill Burton, emphasized on Monday on the Atlantic island of Martha's Vineyard, the resort of the presidential family. In view of the new majority structure, several members of the board of directors had been appointed by the US government.

According to the federal government, the hanging game has no impact on Opel's operational business. Thanks to the state bridge financing - the car manufacturer received a loan of 1.5 billion euros - the liquidity is sufficient, said Merkel's spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm. The Rüsselsheim-based carmaker is one of those manufacturers who have benefited significantly from the government scrapping premium in sales in recent months. (dpa)