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General Motors' bouleversement on the sale of its Opel brand has caused the European head of Opel vacate his office, the head of Opel labor to gulp "a bottle of wine" to get over the shock, the German head of state to request "GM to present a reliable plan for Opel quickly," and Germany's economic minister to prod GM to pay back the rest of the €1.5 billion ($2.25B U.S.) bridge loan.

German magazine Der Spiegel is reporting this morning that Opel President Carl-Peter Forster has resigned from General Motors following the board's decision to kill the sale of a majority stake to Magna International. Apparently, Forster was disgusted at the way that GM officials handled the whole process. Over the past several months, GM went back-and-forth, first agreeing to sell to Magna, then opting for another bid before returning to Magna, only to finally kill the deal altogether and keep

It was an exhausting 7-month process that finally winnowed down a pool of suitors for Opel, General Motors' European subsidiary, to Canadian parts maker Magna and Russian bank Sberbank. The deal was all set to go through, but GM pulled the plug yesterday at the 11th hour, claiming that because of Europe's improving markets and its own better-than-expected financial footing, the automaker could do better for Opel and employees than any of its proposed buyers.

Over on General Motors' Europe "Driving Conversations" blog, VP John Smith has posted an update on the company's negotiations to sell a majority stake in Opel and Vauxhall. Although no final decision has been made yet, it's looking increasingly likely that the previous tentative agreement with Magna International may be usurped by a bid from RHJ International. This, despite the fact that the German government has been favoring the Magna bid because of the suppliers commitment to preserving jobs

With General Motors expected to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York on Monday morning, negotiators in Germany scrambled to finalize a deal to save Opel from insolvency. Following a six-hour meeting in the German Chancellor's office in Berlin on Friday evening, a deal was finally announced by finance minister Peer Steinbrueck. Although an overall deal to transfer control of Opel from General Motors was reached, details are still being worked out and a final contract won't be sig

On Sunday, the Financial Times reported Fiat was in the process of negotiating a deal with General Motors' European operations to take a stake in Opel, Vauxhall and Saab. Although both Fiat and its CEO, Sergio Marchionne, have confirmed talks are ongoing to acquire GM Europe while working on its partnership with Chrysler, according to Saab CEO Jan-Ake Jonsson, the Swedish automaker isn't part of the deal.

Apparently, Fiat's alliance with Chrysler is only the beginning. According to a variety of reports coming out of the UK and Germany, the Italian automaker's expansion plans aren't limited to its 20% stake in Chrysler – Fiat is also considering acquiring General Motors' European operations, including Opel, Vauxhall and even Saab.

If Opel makes it out of the General Motors era alive, its dealers want a bigger say in its recovery as an independent automaker. And by a bigger say, they mean taking a 20% stake in the company – and along with it, a new CEO. One of the candidates being touted as a potential new chief executive for a resurgent, independent Opel is none other than Bernd Pischetsrieder.

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

Leaks of new designs come from all over, and the source of this image is quite odd. It has appeared on a user forum of a Brazilian car magazine but shows the new generation of the Astra that GM Europe is getting ready. Now that its main competitors - VW with the Golf (Rabbit) and Renault with the Mégane - have finished their new revisions, GM must have felt left behind. For now, all information we have is the bad image you see to the right, which was taken on a camera phone during a vide

Now that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged some £90 million for the development of clean vehicles in the U.K., General Motors is seeing plenty to like about the European market for its E-Flex vehicles. The automaker has already reversed its stance on building the electric cars in America and shipping them overseas, with the Ellesmere Port plant now being considered for Opel and Vauxhall EVs. Just how many electric cars could GM sell in Europe? According to Bob Lutz, plenty. I

The General Motors factory in Zaragoza, Spain is set to get a roof tiled in solar panels as part of a larger initiative throughout GM's European operations. 183,000 square meters of photovoltaic cells will be capable of providing up to a quarter of the factory's peak demand. Zaragoza is GM's biggest European factory, and the project will cost €50m, though its benefit will be significant reduction in energy bills for the automaker. GM has 19 other plants in Europe, and the Saint Petersburg f

Some of GM's European executives can sleep soundly these first few weeks of August, with Saab hitting record numbers in Europe, Chevrolet being up by 9.5 percent and overall sales in Eastern Europe growing a staggering 75 percent over July of 2005 on the performance of Chevy and Opel in the marketplace.

GM Europe just took the wraps off its new Corsa three-door hatchback and already the Euro auto scene has been flooded with spy shots of a VXR model being tested under the guise of creative camouflaging. Speculation on how much power the Corsa VXR's turbocharged 1.6L will produce range from 160 bhp to 200 bhp. We're leaning towards the latter figure, as it would put the Corsa ahead of the Renaultsport Clio, if only by a few ponies. 0-60 is said to pass in about six seconds and it will top out on

Considering that the recently unveiled production version of the Opel Antara will likely become the next Saturn Vue sometime between 2008 and 2009, we thought you might want to see it from all angles, including the interior. You can check out the specs in our post from yesterday, or check out GM Europe's full press release after the jump along with a few more official pics.

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