By on November 14, 2008

A few days ago, GM CEO “Red Ink” Rick Wagoner told his man in Germany to ask the German government for €40b (and sundry other goodies.)  Opel-Chief  Hans H. Demant’s request was shot down in Berlin faster than a 747 over Kamchatka. In fact, Opel/GM’s mental sanity was publicly called into question. Deeply humbled, Demant has penned another letter to Berlin. We paraphrase in the spirit of brevity: “Dear Angela: I’m sorry I rubbed you the wrong way. Can you maybe spare €500m? No? How about €200m? Please! I’ll pay you back. Real soon,  honest. Ever your humble servant (and master of 25700 jobs), I remain respectfully yours, Hans H. Demant.” You think we are kidding? Here’s the real rub-a-dub-dub:

After the initial letter to Berlin was answered with invectives, Demant slashed his request for a handout down to 12.5 cents on the Euro. On Friday afternoon German time, an interview appeared in the on-line edition of Handelsblatt. In said publication, Demant suggested that the government could maybe co-sign a note for €500m. Reason given: “GM left us holding a huge baby of €1b in losses. All I’m asking for is half of it.” That request received at least minor eye movement in the state of Hesse, where most of Opel is located. The state’s Premier Koch promised to “think about it.”

Quite possibly, the wheels in the premier’s brain jammed. A few hours yet later, Autohaus, daily fodder for Germany’s tortured car dealers, reported that Demant had scaled his request down further to a mere €200m. What’s less, Opel’s baby-holding chief begged Germany’s federal government, and all three states in which Opel has factories, to co-sign the note. Shared pain and all. To keep his options open, Demant asked for “at least €200m.”  But the way this is going, on Monday, he’ll be happy with 2 mil.

As the German working day came to a close, DPA caught up with Demant, and asked him squarely whether Opel is broke. “Not yet,” a humble Hans said hoarsely. Actually, he said: “Currently, we have no liquidity problem.” But come Monday…

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13 Comments on “Bailout Watch, German Edition, Zwei: “Angela, I’m Sorry. Opel Deserves Less”...”

  • avatar

    Oh, where’s the dignity?

    The horror, the horror…

  • avatar

    “reported that Demant had scaled his request down further to a mere €200b”

    I think you mean €200m? Otherwise this bailout business is just getting ridiculous, heh.

  • avatar
    Bozoer Rebbe

    shot down in Berlin faster than a 747 over Kamchatka

    I hope nobody with relatives on KAL-007 reads this post. Bertel, that’s in really poor taste.

    How about:

    “goes down faster than a German blonde on a Russian soldier, circa April 1945”

    If we can joke about murder, what’s wrong with joking about rape?

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Stranger than fiction.

    As for the reference, it wasn’t wildly specific. And “like a 707 over the Kola Penninsula” definitely doesn’t have the same ring.

    Also, Dr Strangelove was making light of Cold War madness in 1964. Let’s keep our perspective.

  • avatar

    “Goes down faster than a U2 spyplane over Kamchatka”

    This removes the civiliant component.

    Yes, this was off-topic.

    On topic: a small part of me feels bad for Demant, who must be under the absurd order from Wagoner to “keep asking until you get something, anything.”

    That’s the plan, GM?

    RF, we need to get all your GM Death Watch series into more, um, “mainstream” hands.

  • avatar

    @paradigm: Thank you, eagle-eyes! Corrected.

    @Rebbe: Yep, that’s me. Bad-Taste-Bert. Next up: Jokes about rape. (Didn’t I abuse that somewhere already? Even “gang-raped at the hands of” something or other … My mind falters.)

    PS: I was booked on Pan-Am 103. My usual last flight out of LHR. As usual, I changed my reservation. Last laugh. Very funny.

    PPS: Enlighten me: If the German Blonde goes down on the Russian soldier, is it rape? Is it if v.v.? Bill said it didn’t even qualify as sex. My mind wanders.

    @kman RF, we need to get all your GM Death Watch series into more, um, “mainstream” hands. I’m opposed to that. A 747 over Kamchatka wouldn’t survive in mainstream hands.

  • avatar

    Germany is so Americanized.

    They even have entitlement beggars now.

  • avatar

    @rebbe: Allow me also to apologize for making Demant ask for half a baby. That was REALLY in bad taste. Won’t happen again.

  • avatar

    Earth calling Mr Schmitt: There seems to be some problem with your mind. I think you better have a lay down. Or a valium perhaps? A shot with a tranquilizer gun?

  • avatar


    Tranquilizer gun, please.

    Ah! That hits the spot. Thank you. Good night!

  • avatar
    Bozoer Rebbe

    PPS: Enlighten me: If the German Blonde goes down on the Russian soldier, is it rape? Is it if v.v.? Bill said it didn’t even qualify as sex. My mind wanders.

    Rape? It may have been voluntary, to protect themselves from worse, but it probably wasn’t willing.

    [Insert exception to not being willing about someone’s mother here]

    Lenny Bruce said, in the 1960s, that Europeans hate America because our dad’s fucked their moms for chocolate bars.

    As far as what sex is, I’m sure there are millions of people who go to sleep thinking they just had sex but have spouses who disagree.

  • avatar

    As far as I see, the request is still for 1 bn Euro. Hessia is about to approve half of that.

    The whole request is no big surprise. The imminent bankruptcy of GM could endanger seriously Opel, although Opel is still profitable. Once suppliers would ask to be paid first, Opel would be toast. So there may be some reason to assist here to avoid that in the end Opel goes down because GM deserves bankruptcy.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    I’m subscribing just to see where the rebbe goes with this.

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