Just as Saab and Saturn find their futures uncertain as General Motors tries to unload as much liability as possible, so do the automaker's European brands: Opel and its counterpart in the UK, Vauxhall. Europeans, however, have a different way of dealing with the finality of job loss than we Americans do. Where we Yanks might be more inclined to form a picket line and solicit honks of support from people driving by, Europeans like to get out on the street and protest... en masse. So on the same day that General Motors released a 2008 earnings report that was worse than expected, thousands of its workers in Europe marched outside factories in solidarity.
Reports say that protests have sprung up at two Opel factories in Germany as well as sites run by GM in Britain, France, Spain and Hungary. The best hope these workers have for their brands' survival is that GM spins off Opel and Vauxhall. Whether the two brands are sold to a third party or the spin-off is financed by a group of European Union countries is yet to be determined, if it ever will be. No one seems to be in the market for auto brands these days and, as EU officials admit, there's no precedent for pooling the resources of multiple countries to save a company. And just like the U.S. requested viability plans, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is demanding a "sustainability company concept" before her country would consider giving GM any aid.
[Source: Detroit Free Press | Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty]