• Apr 17, 2009
While several General Motors divisions and assets could face the axe if the troubled auto giant were to declare bankruptcy (or even if they don't), Opel would not necessarily be one of them, according to emerging financial reports from Europe. The German division has access to its own funds, which could remain in place and at its disposal to continue funding operations, including the payment of salaries, even if The General in Detroit goes belly-up.

Reports suggest that a deal may have been struck between GM and its Opel subsidiary that could see Detroit transferring valuable patents back to Rüsselsheim, Germany, the seat of Opel's headquarters. That may prove more difficult than it would appear, however, as the patents in question were transferred to the U.S. Federal government as collateral on the loans received so far. If push comes to shove, Opel is something of a stand-alone entity within GM's global operations, having been run independently for decades before being acquired by the General, and it is thought that it could continue (albeit with some difficulty) in GM's absence. The question is, would the same apply to General Motors' other European assets like Vauxhall (whose products are essentially Opels) and Saab, to say nothing of Holden and Daewoo?

[Source: Reuters]


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  • 24 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Uh, why would Opel get involved with Saturn?

      If you didn't notice Saturn was remodeled after Opel years ago and sold two Opels (Astra, VUE) both of which failed miserably. Opel cars are expensive, Saturn customers don't like paying a lot for cars. Sales flatlined after the changeover. Opel assuming Saturn does not compute. That and Saturn is effectively dead as a brand.

      Plus, Opel is not in rosy shape at all. Opel's true condition has come to light over the past several months as GM has petitioned the German government for a bailout and they've refused. Opel is not a solvent company itself nor is it vital to Germany or Europe's economy.

      Opel is pretty much hosed. So is Holden. So is Daewoo. The entire GM empire is crumbling.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ TriShield

        > If you didn't notice Saturn was remodeled after Opel years ago and sold two Opels (Astra, VUE)

        Both VUE and Antara were engineered by Daewoo. In fact, Opel Antara is an import from Daewoo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Opel/Vauxhall operate fairly independently from GM... it is not the same as if Chevrolet was to suddenly declare itself separate.

      Think of it as a company within a company... not a brand.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Vauxhall Motors Ltd is a subsidiary company of GM (UK) Ltd - which itself is a subsidiary company of GM. Both operate within GME's framework, however, as does Adam Opel AG, although it is a direct subsidiary company of GM.

        Chevrolet is merely an owned brand name of GM, not a separate legal entity like Vauxhall or Opel.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What a f#%king mess!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Those guys are wearing shirts over jackets right? Can't imagine obesity being that much of a problem over there (compared to the US).

      Anyways, I hope Opel survives this economic storm.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are those guys members of the "UAW of Europe"? They sure look like their beer swirling cousins over here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Haven't been in Europe lately haven't you? Obesity is becoming an increasing problem in western Europe as well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, they are wearing jackets. The hoods are clearly visible.

        There is a little obesity in Europe as well, however the problem is far smaller in size, pun intended.

        The problems differ from country to country. The British have too much fat and fast food, while the Germans drink too much beer.

        The French, Italians and Spanish eat their Mediterranean foods and keep pretty slim in comparison.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Daewoo hasn't made a car in years. Just go to their site. They were dismantled by the Korean government during the late 90s Asian market crash and aren't doing so hot now: kinda like zombies really.

      As for Holden, that will be interesting to see, but didn't the new non-GM Saab already file Chapter 11 (or the Swedish equivalent)?

      But if all the rebadging from country to country was stopped and there was just Opel, while all the others listed died sad deaths, I wouldn't lose any sleep. Not from THAT at least.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Kattleox

        > Daewoo hasn't made a car in years.

        Daewoo made 1.9 million cars last year, or 23% of GM's total 2008 output.
        Daewoo engineers all of GM's A, B, and C segment cars and SUVs and loss of Daewoo would be fatal to survival of "New GM".

        • 5 Years Ago
        The Epica engine is an I6.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I know it has become popular for everyone to chime in before GM cuts a brand to say "oh no! not my brand!" but I really feel letting go of Opel (or letting them take their engineering back and becoming autonomous withing GM) is a HORRIBLE idea, the kind one makes when they underestimate or ignore the contribution of a hard worker. Aside from the fact that Opel is practically the sole source of foreign income for GM, they also have that stronger (more "German"?) engineering ethic with their products. I've said earlier that sales figures for Pontiac & GMC show that Americans actually ARE willing to pay more for a quality-built GM product at the lower end of the segment. In other words, Americans actually DO want their bread & butter products to not be flimsy pieces of crap, which the sales figures of Honda & Toyota should demonstrate as well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        How GM got themself's into so much trouble just baffles me. Opel's are all over the place in Europe. Either it's a case of rank incompetance at the GM board over the years or they have become just too big buying too many car companies around the world and not knowing what to do with them (like Saab).

        They need to streamline quickly. Reduce the product range world wide, Close down all but the most important plants sort out the unions once and for all ( Won't be popular but it needs to be done). They should keep Opel at all costs and unify it all over world under the same badge name (In the UK it's Vauxhall as some of you may know and Australia it's Holden I think). Also build it in America.

        GM should also keep one other brand name for muscle cars in the US and use the Holden name for the Aussie muscle cars (In fact set up a division where US and Aussie and European engineers work together for this sole purpose) Then just get rid of all the other brand names they are using.

        The days of GM still wanting to be the world's largest car maker is over.

        In short GM should be:

        Opel, Holden and maybe Pontiac?

        AND GET THOSE OPEL PATENTS BACK.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Isn't the point of filing bankruptcy that the entire company carries on? This is like saying "Chevy could carry on if GM files for bankruptcy". As much of the company will carry on as is possible, if filing wouldn't help this, they'd just close up shop and skip bankruptcy all together.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "The question is, would the same apply to General Motors' other European assets like Vauxhall (whose products are essentially Opels)"

      Wrong, Autoblog. The products (in the case of cars) are GME's, and badged as Vauxhalls, Opels, and Chevrolets for respective markets (and some Holdens and Saturns previously, also). Most of the design and engineering however is performed at Opel. In the case of their commercial vehicles, those are products of a joint venture between GME and Renault.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think GM should reduce its stake in Opel to ~10% (like Ford to Mazda), and have Saturn be basically Opel's American brand. It's worked (I think) for Ford and Mazda; it should work for GM and Opel/Saturn too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM will file, and should get good money from the sale of Opel, or keep it. Opel is not a liability (so long as they are allowed to call their own shots).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmm... maybe the auto panel's plans should be to make three GM's... the "good GM" Chevy/Cadillac, the "bad GM" of everything else, and the "overseas GM" of Opel/Vauxhall/Holden/GMDAT/GM-SAIC...
      • 5 Years Ago
      "...the patents in question were transferred to the U.S. Federal government as collateral on the loans received so far."

      Wow, that's scary. Depending on what those patents cover, it could be foreseeable that the Fed won't actually want GM to survive so that it could take the patents (and either use or squelch them). Given Obama's "Green at any cost" mandates, it's not unreasonable.

      What collateral did the Fed get from Fanny, Freddie, or Wall St.?
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