By on December 5, 2008

You gotta love an autoblogger who writes “After all, the recent cancellation of the luxurious 4-seat coupe previewed by the concept CS shows that the current BMW management are acting, how should I say it… like a bunch of pussies.” [I don’t agree but I appreciate the, uh, Ehrbarkeit.] Anyway, our new BFF at auto-future has read the most recent paper version of Autobild (out today). The pub predicts that BMW’s about to go on a buying binge. “The strategy previewed includes BMW forming an holding in order to acquire positions in other companies, including a percentage of Daimler that allows a position in the board, and possible a Opel buy either alone or with Daimler and German government colaboration.” We’ll get ask our man Bertel Schmitt to pick-up a copy at the train station and provide a more complete translation. But given GM’s DC begging bowl debacle (part two today rock the House), it’s increasingly clear that it’s only a matter of time before someone grabs GM’s Euro-brand. Or at least the best bits.

Update: In the meantime, Bertel Schmitt picked up a copy of Auto-BILD at the train station. He called in and said “They are talking menace a trois!” Between BMW, Mercedes and Opel.  He said, it’s just a scenario, written up by the magazine. We’ll hear more when he has found an Internet Cafe in Berlin.

Bertel from the Internet café: “Not much to report and translate, boys & girls: Wild assed rumor it is not. It’s pure, unsourced speculation by Auto-BILD (after all, they are the car offshoot of BILD-Zeitung, famous for its “Man Bites Dog” style.) They think, it would be a swell idea if BMW and Daimler would join forces (if someone finds a way to sedate their engineers, they will.) Then, with some government money, they could take Opel off the hands of GM. And ACHTUNG: A pure, true and true Germanic car company. Nice idea. Next idea, please! However, the “report” reflects what we’ve said for a while: Nobody in Germany doubts that Opel will leave GM. Everybody just speculates about the how and when.”

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11 Comments on “Wild Ass Rumor of the Day: BMW Buying Opel...”

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    BMW on a buying binge? I would question that assertion because they’re predicting HUGE sales losses for themselves for the foreseeable future, at least until the credit crisis is resolved. Why? Approximately half of their U.S. car sales are leases to people with lower credit scores and right now, their leasing is off 70% from last this time last year.
    However, if they have a lot of cash on hand, perhaps they will but with seemingly no end in sight for the credit crisis it might not be prudent to go on a buying spree at this time.

  • avatar

    Ok, I’ll get an Auto-BILD

  • avatar

    Re: BMW dropping the 4-door coupe: Brilliant. Chasing everyone into every fad market niche is what destroyed GM. And 4-door coupes are particularly stupid.

    Re: BMW possibly buying into part of Opel: Not Brilliant.

    Re: Daimler possibly buying into part of Opel: It’s about damn time they ruin a German company for a change.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    It’s not gonna happen. Quandts don’t wants it.

  • avatar

    The article is about a possibility drawn up by the author. A “what if story”- not even a rumor.More of a pipe dream.
    Mr Kacher, the author, dreams about a merger of BMW, Opel and hold you pants- Mercedes.
    BMW and Mercedes just recently dropped their co-op on certain components, let alone a “merger”.

  • avatar

    Actually, this idea isn’t so stupid, it’s just we got the company wrong.

    BMW won’t go on a spending spree for the very reason Mr Sidoti said. BMW are announcing a drop in sales and profits. BMW don’t need a main stream brand. Mini and the 3 series is doing just fine.

    However, substitute BMW for DAIMLER and suddenly the whole idea makes perfect sense.

    Firstly, Daimler are cash rich and want to spend money to stave off a takeover. Using that money to buy Opel could help fend that fear off.

    Secondly, using Opel as a mainstream brand would help grow Daimler as a business. More cars would mean bigger cost savings and also go a long way to fending off the fear of takeover. In fact, it could be the business model that “DaimlerChrysler” should have been.

    Thirdly, DaimlerChrysler partially failed because of the lack of compatibility between the German and American cultures. Buying Opel would eliminate this problem since they are both German.

    BMW would be a bad idea, but Daimler? It could make sense……

  • avatar

    BMW is not that stupid. They owned Rover at one point. They will never make the same mistake twice.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Dear old Georg Kacher. Just about everybody used to like the things he wrote in CAR, except when he wrote about various versions of the Porsche 911, in five successive editions of the magazine.

    He certainly has a way with words, both in English and in German, and I enjoy his articles in Süddeutsche Zeitung immensely.

    But in recent times he has gotten all too close to the companies he covers. I don’t want to use the expression tool but he does allow himself to be used to test the waters, no matter how murky. What’s the use of this kind of odd and thin speculation? Anybody with any understanding of the business knows Opel and BMW don’t mix, can’t mix, won’t never mix.

    (And why does TTAC re-report this stuff?)

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    It might make sense for BMW to pick up SAAB. The idea would be revive the SAAB 93 as a rally car a bit larger than the MINI, but still a compact.

  • avatar

    I agree with Katie & Martin:

    – BMW needs Opel like a hole in the head. In Germany, the 3-series is regarded a volume model. With the Mini, they are well-placed in the cars-for-dwarfs segment.

    – The only use Daimler would have for Opel is as a poison pill. But there are other suitors waiting to ward off raiders. The Stae of Baden Wuerttemberg is ready. Daimler’s current problem is that they can’t make enough A and B models.

    The biggest culture problem is between Daimler and BMW. Goes from management to customers. A BMW buyer doesn’t buy a Mercedes. A former VW buyer is more likely to step up to a Mercedes than to a BMW. Engineers and managers (except all the way at the top) regard each other with contempt. Culture-wise, either could pick up Opel. After having been ruled from the USA, and later from a SWISS headquarters filled with Detroit lackeys, there isn’t much backbone left at Opel. If the choice would be Zurich, Stuttgart or Munich, Opel would definitely not take Zurich, and be happy with either Stuttgart or Munich.

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