• Sep 9, 2009
While General Motors was going through its 42 day bankruptcy period, one of the stories that didn't receive much play was the sale of GM's Opel brand. The major players in the Opel sale appear to be the German government, Canadian supplier Magna and Belgian private investor RHJ International.

The German government was reportedly willing to front 3.4 billion euros toward the deal, as long as Magna was the buyer. Magna has said that it wouldn't close any German factories if it purchased, making the supplier attractive to the German government. But Magna is tied to a Russian company that would receive GM's intellectual property if the sale is made final.

The Daily Mail in the UK is reporting that the General would rather push Opel into insolvency than sell to Magna. When GM went into Chapter 11, Opel was placed in a trust. Now that GM is free of bankruptcy and sales have picked up (slightly) in Europe, the Detroit-based automaker could possibly again own Opel by working through German insolvency laws. To make matters a bit more complicated, Opel's unions are threatening to demand pay raises and bonuses if the company isn't sold to Magna.

The sale of Opel looks like it's becoming more of a mess than originally anticipated. The status of Opel could become clearer by the end of this week, with a Opel on the agenda during a major board meeting at GM today and tomorrow.

[Source: Daily Mail | Image Source: Ralph Orlowski/Getty]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      "...he wrote, adding that a failure of Opel would free GM of 4 billion euros in related costs. "

      http://www.finanznachrichten.de/nachrichten-2009-09/14858812-rpt-update-1-opel-labour-threatens-further-escalation-with-gm-020.htm

      • 5 Years Ago
      GM needs Opel?Vauxhall to succeed in Europe. Stop the game playing, the unions need to get their act together. Especially these times.


        • 5 Years Ago
        The unions in the UK and Spain seem to be doing their job correctly.
        The Unite(UK) and UGT(Spain) unions have already endorsed the more sensible of the two proposals, the proposal from RHJ. They don't seem to have a problem with GM keeping Opel either. In the event that Opel/Vauxhall IS liquidated, I sincerely hope that only the most inefficient factories are closed down, while the most efficient ones are picked up again after the insolvency.

        I doubt the German union or workers are going to get their act together anytime soon......
      • 5 Years Ago
      So I guess this could drag on for a few more months.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "1) the worst car EVER made in Europe is the Class A Mercedes, which failed the famous "Moose" tests in Sweden....."

      If you know your stuff about the A-Class, the moose-test debacle was limited to the very first limited production run. The car was given a wider track which solved the problem and gave it far better handling, but sadly diminished the ride quality Mercedes had earlier been concentrating on.

      I'd say the worst car ever made in Europe was probably either the Zastava 45, or the old Wartburgs. The Skoda Estelle 105 was awful too, although it used a practically bombproof bodyshell.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The reason I look things up is because I don't want to make things up as I go along, such as:

        "Incorrect. The moose test was carried out by a magazine using a model from the initial production run batch. The car very quickly had redesigned underpinnings at the back which gave the car a wider track."

        Every single car produced and sold up to that point in time was recalled. This is actually how ESP came about. And it wasn't JUST redesigned underpinnings, it was underpinnings+ESP+modifying the springs and shocks+lowering the engine+stabilizer bars added to the front and rear axles+wider tyres

        "The modifications fixed the problem but cost Mercedes millions of dollars and left the A-Class with the nickname initials MTF (moose test failer) by the world's motoring press."

        It was in the end a different car that the owners of the original class-A got.


        The class-A was such a horrible technical f**k-up that it's still studied today in many business schools in terms of CRISIS MANAGEMENT (for those without an aversion to reading):

        http://harvardbusiness.org/product/mercedes-and-the-moose-test-a/an/KEL048-PDF-ENG
        "Describes a crisis management situation facing Mercedes-Benz"....


        and here's a book on the topic as well:
        http://www.amazon.com/Public-Relations-Disasters-Gerry-McCusker/dp/074944259X/ref=sr_1_1/192-7433902-3585165?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252524568&sr=1-1
        "..Many other motoring journalists the world over tried to replicate the roll or devise their own version of the moose test. Networked reporting ..."

        " You're talking about poorly made European cars."
        No I'm not. I'm talking about well-engineered cars that don't flip over and kill you, as opposed to a car that did just that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Richard, and when I say "miniscule", remember that 2,500 units being recalled is nothing compared to the sales of the A-Class to date - approximately one and three-quarter million examples.

        As bad as the initial elk test incident was for a manufacturer such as Mercedes, it didn't deter the model from being an unbridled success. So be careful when you use words such as "public relations disaster".
      • 5 Years Ago
      You're reporting a tabloid "SHOCKER!" story as fact.

      What a shambles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "GM would rather have Opel, Vauxhall fall into insolvency ..." - Autoblog

      Adam Opel and Vauxhall Motors are completely independent legal entities. What they have in common is that they sell GM Europe-developed products. Opel is a subsidiary of GM, while Vauxhall is a subsidiary of GM (UK) which in turn is a subsidiary of GM. Should Opel fall into the realm of German insolvency law, that has nothing directly to do with Vauxhall's financial position as a legal entity. Vauxhall's finances would however be affected if Opel stopped manufacturing some of its models.

      In practice, should GM sell Opel, it would likely sell Vauxhall as well as GM (UK)'s other subsidiaries, which includes GMM Luton as well as Opel Ireland, Saab GB and Chevrolet UK distribution companies. The other subsidiaries would simply be wound down, sold off with GM's other asset dispositions and/or restructured.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe GM had no intention of selling Opel at all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Madness, absolute madness. This madness has been going on for too long. GM should be made aware that at the end of the day there's people dependent on their decisions.

      http://www.carnorama.com
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think the purpose of the New GM was to get the short end of the stick on business deals.
      • 5 Years Ago
      just shut it down
      sell Chevy's in the EU (import themn from the US and Canada) and just close the doors to Opel and Vuxhaul brands
      they can keep the engineers to work for them as a design center in EU
      shut all factories down for Opel and Vuxhaul

      big deal
      if the unions there want to do what they did in the US then they deserve it
        • 5 Years Ago
        Flash news for you: they already sell Chevy's in EU... and they are garbage. The same happens with the Dodge ones.
        If Opel dies, the respective market share will be gone to VW Group (VW, Skoda, Seat), Ford Europe, PSA Group (Citroen, Peugeot), Renault, Fiat, Honda, Toyota, etc, etc...
        GM is not stupid, if they loose Opel/Vauxhall brands, they will literally loose almost every market share they have in Europe. Opel cars are always top positioned in sales. Corsa, Astra, Meriva, Zafira, new Insignia... GM has no chance to achieve such market share with the Chevy brand... even less with US made cars. The quality standards required by the average European market are way higher.
        Even the USA market it's been filled with more Japanese and European cars sales, so why would GM succeed in exporting their cans in one of the most demanding markets in the world? Try China... otherwise, don't even bother to think about it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "just shut it down
        sell Chevy's in the EU (import themn from the US and Canada) and just close the doors to Opel and Vuxhaul brands"

        Vauxhall commands a 12% market share in the UK. Great idea ... (rolls eyes).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Has GM ever done anything right? Why should the sale of Opel be any different?
      Using the word "intellectual" whether it's property rights or anything else in conjunction with GM is a misnomer. I guarantee that within 5 years we will all watch and probably pay for... New GM Bankruptcy 2
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Gary Lowe - Has GM ever done anything right?"

        GM didn't maintain it's position as the number one automaker in the world for all those decades by doing nothing right. So Toyota took that crown. Big deal. GM is still the number one automaker in the US even after the big C4C scam. I predict that next month will prove to be more devastating to Toyota than GM in a month by month comparison.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Gary ma boy, you attempt at humor landed wide of the mark. Can you tell me what percentage of corporations last for more than 100 years? GM has done lots of things right, they've also made some major boo-boos.

        The General Motors Corporation, will out you my dear Sir.

        10 years ago they would have failed coming out of Chapt. 11, because their product portfolio was uncompetitive and they were too large and redundant. Still somewhat redundant, but their product portfolio is magnitudes better than before, and getting better as they go forward.

        With Ford and GM raising their game, I say that over time, the imports will be beaten back. It's already starting to happen. Ask Toyota about that brick wall they ran into recently, it's not just the recession.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Excuse the typo, should have Read:

        The General Motors Corporation, will out live you my dear Sir.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If it looks like old gm, sound like old gm, and acts like old gm. Chances are new GM is still the old gm...
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