By on June 16, 2010

If you go back for what seems to be years, TTAC never gave Opel big odds for getting state aid. Ever since GM reneged on the Magna deal, their chances were pretty much nil. Since then, the German government had been subjecting Opel to water torture. A few  days ago, Berlin made it obvious. They had to, because GM was like a psychiatric patient that was slowly going through all stages of the Kübler-Ross model: Denial (“They said they would help us”), anger (“Maybe this will make your chancellor happy”), bargaining, depression, now finally, acceptance. Today, GM and Opel officially threw in the towel. Opel officially gave up on state aid. They will turn to the entity that supposedly wasn’t allowed to help them: The GM mother-ship. In other words: You and me will pay to save Opel.

Of course, GM didn’t just cry uncle. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2010

We knew it would be one of Angela’s feel good meetings. Careful parsing of her statement yesterday gave the clues: “I will do everything so that the employees who were pushing for the preservation of Opel receive all possible help and support we have at our disposal.Angela hadn’t promised help for Opel. She promised to do what she can to cushion the blow to the Opel workers. Anyway, Frau Merkel met with the Premiers of the Opel states, only to tell them that the decision stands: (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2010

Yesterday, as predicted by TTAC on many occasions, Germany’s Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle denied state aid for Opel. Even before the announcement, his boss Angela Merkel called a pow-wow of the premiers of the Opel states to find out what can and should be done now. The pow-wow will take place today. Yesterday’s statements by Brüderle and his boss are quite telling. Here they are, unedited (German version courtesy of Automobilwoche [sub], translation by yours truly.) (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2010

On Wednesday, June 9 2010, the German government will decide whether they’ll grant Opel live support. Or whether Berlin gives Opel a pat on the head and best wishes for their future endeavors. That’s the current plan, says Die Zeit, based on reports by the German wire service DPA. Plans can change, as they did in the past.

It looks grim for Opel. (Read More…)

By on June 4, 2010

If anybody would offer me Nick Reilly’s job, I would scream. I don’t have the nerves the assignment takes. Yesterday, Opel made headlines for losing 51.5 percent in May. In today’s mass publication BILD Zeitung, there is even worse news: (Read More…)

By on May 25, 2010

Pretty soon you’ll hear about a breakthrough for Opel, and that there will be state aid. If not, you’ve read it here first. In any case, treat the news carefully. Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, usually well-informed in Opel matters, reports that the state of Thuringia offered help to Opel. The Süddeutsche calls it a “symbolic offer.” (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2010

The German magazine Der Spiegel got its hands on an internal document. In the paper, the German economy ministry gives an awful assessment of the business plan that Nick Reilly had circulated amongst interested parties. Interested parties being the countries where Opel has plants and where GM wants to collect €2.7b in government aid. The Spiegel’s article will appear in the printed issue on Monday. But there are some damning pre-releases.

Minister Rainer Brüderle has serious doubts about Opel’s restructuring plan. “The viability is questionable,” the internal memo says. The planned job cuts are “hard to understand.”

And once more, Germany’s all-time phobia when it comes to Opel aid emerges: (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2010

Here are the first reactions to Nick Reilly’s turn-around and begging plan for Opel. In one word: “Booooh!”

Roland Koch, Premier of Hesse, where Opel has its headquarters, where most of Opel’s jobs and countless suppliers are, should be most interested in the survival. What was his reaction? “According to our first assessment, it will be necessary that GM as the owner will increase its contribution considerably,” he said to Das Autohaus. Translation: “Put money on the table. Then we talk.”

Little know factoid: In 2008, Opel was the 7th largest employer in Hesse, followed by Volkswagen, only 2,800  jobs behind Opel, most in a parts factory and distribution center in structurally weak Kassel.  When Opel has finished its reduction in force plan, VW will provide more jobs to the state than Opel. Koch knows which side his bread is buttered.

The unions, which should be most interested in preserving jobs, immediately shot down the plan. (Read More…)

By on February 9, 2010

Opel’s Nick Reilly today revealed details of Opel’s long-awaited business plan. Here are the highlights (and low points) as reported by Automobilwoche [sub]. (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2010

This week, Opel will embark on a pan-European begging tour. Applications for government aid will be sent to Germany’s central government, Germany’s states with Opel plants, and to the European countries where Opel has a presence. A business plan, and an expert opinion from the little known CPA firm Warth & Klein will complete the package, writes Das Autohaus. Target of the funds drive are €2.7b. Opel management still counts on wage concessions of €265m per year over five years (a total of €1.3b). Unions and the Opel Works Council already have said “nein” to the concessions. Governments want to see the paperwork first, (Read More…)

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