GM was supposed to have a restructuring plan for Opel in place by the end of December, but it’s looking like that deadline is DOA. In a blog post at GM Europe’s “Driving Conversations” blog, GME supremo Nick Reilly explains:
While it is indeed exciting to see that things are coming together, bear in mind this is going to be one of the largest, most complex industrial reorganisations in European manufacturing in years. It will affect thousands of people and their families; impact plants and other stakeholders.
We are determined to do this right. We must do this right. Although we had hoped to have the new business model finalised in December, it appears that more work needs to be done and further consultations will not be rushed.
I said earlier that we would have a plan in place by year-end. Now it looks like an announcement may slip into January. This is not a broken promise. It is a pledge to do something right.
Fresh details on GM’s Asian wranglings are coming in, and it seems that SAIC paid The General a mere $85m for the one percent needed to control the joint venture. GM’s Nick Reilly tells the New York Times:
the 51 percent stake would give S.A.I.C. the right to approve the venture’s budget, future plans and senior management. But the venture has a cooperative spirit in which S.A.I.C. has already been able to do so… S.A.I.C. wanted to have a majority stake to consolidate the venture in its financial reporting
Which is about as credible as the conclusion that the Shanghai and India deals are going to provide GM International with a meaningful amount of cash with which to rescue its European and Korean divisions. As it turns out, the Indian deal isn’t going to translate into free cash for GM. GM and SAIC will set up a joint Hong Kong-based investment company, which GM will give its Indian operations and SAIC will fund with $300-$530m, bringing its overall value to $650m.
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.
GM Europe’s head, Nick Reilly, has suggested that the job losses at Vauxhall UK may not be as bad as was feared. Before GM did a U-turn with the sale of Vauxhall/Opel, Magna agreed with Vauxhall to cut 800 jobs, no forced redundancies, and keep the Luton and Ellesmere Port plants open. Then, GM realised they liked Vauxhall/Opel so much, they kept the company and put its European operations back at square one. So far, with “New GM” in control, the results can be summed up in 4 words: Annoyed the German government.