Automotive News [sub] reports that GM will rush out its $4.9b restructuring plan for Opel in December, as it seeks to ease worries on the continent about the fate of the troubled division. “Our plan is very similar to Magna’s. I don’t think it’s worse,” GM’s Nick Reilly told reporters near Opel’s largest plant in Zaragoza, Spain. Reily has said that as many as 10,000 jobs and 20 to 25 percent of Opel’s production capacity could be cut in the restructuring. Though Reilly refused to indicate where cuts could take place, he did say that GM would not transfer production from Zaragoza to Eisenach in eastern Germany, as Magna had planned to do. He also previously implied that British government loans could prevent or mitigate a planned 800-job cut at Opel’s Vauxhall operations in Britain.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S.A., questions about GM’s use of bailout funds to save overseas operations are starting to filter into the mainstream media. “We certainly need to be prudent about it, be very careful about it, but we do have the ability to run a global business,” says Fritz Henderson. After all, when asked specifically about the use of taxpayer money in an Opel bailout, Ron Bloom made it clear that the Obama Administration simply doesn’t care. “We are not going to meddle in GM’s decisions,” he said. “We are a shareholder but we are not an active shareholder.” Game on!