To the German government authorities who think General Motors is financially sound enough to pay for Opel's restructuring without loan-guarantee assistance, Opel CEO Nick Reilly says that's not the case. "You need to remember that GM is first of all founded by U.S. taxpayers," Reilly was quoted as saying. "Frankly, GM needs the money it has got."
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.
The EU's Directorate-General for Competition (EUDGC) is looking at the Opel deal that should have been concluded already, and is asking questions of Germany and GM. Principally it is trying to resolve the issue of state aid; it was reported before that if Opel was purchased by Magna then the German government would provide financial assistance. However, if the bidder GM is said to have preferred, Belgian investment fund RHJ, won, then there would be no money coming from the German authorities.
One of the many clauses that General Motors is reportedly trying negotiate into any deal involving majority control of Opel is the option to eventually buy back the stake it is selling.
Opel's Insignia OPC is one of those "available elsewhere" cars that's got us licking our chops. The Insignia is headed to North America as a Buick, and enthusiasts everywhere hope the hotshot OPC version gets widely propagated. What's not likely to make any trans-Atlantic journeys is a wagon version of Opel's performance-enhanced sedan. Spy-shooters have nailed an Insignia OPC Sports Tourer running about uncamoflaged, and the wagon's got its sights trained on Audi's S4 Avant.
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.
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.