By on April 23, 2009

Fiat wants to get its hands on Opel, and the Opel workers don’t like it at all. Opel workers council chief Klaus Franz confirmed today that Fiat is in intensive negotiations to take over Opel. A memorandum of understanding may be signed as early as this coming Tuesday, reports Automobilwoche [sub]. Franz is very much against it:

According to Franz, Fiat doesn’t want to build a big car empire. All they want are the credit guarantees that are offered by the German government as a dowry if Opel finds a suitable partner “Fiat has a debt load of €14.2 billion and really bad liquidity problems. There is no other way fort them to raise funds,” Franz said.

A spokesperson of GM Europe didn’t want to comment the comments of their über-shop steward. The spokesperson gave the tired party line of GM being in contact with a number of interested, but unnamed investors.

Franz is worried that Fiat will “show their true colors” after the fall elections and will initiate massive job cuts. Between Opel and Fiat “is brutal overlap in all segments” said Franz, who also serves as Vice Chairman of the Opel supervisory board—he should and must know.

Fiat did not comment. According to Klaus Koch, premier of Opel’s home state Hesse, “there is no decision yet—Magna and Fiat are only some of the parties interested in Opel.” Politicians. Can’t keep their mouths shut.

In related news, all signs are on red in Milan. In Q1 09, Fiat’s sales dropped from €15 billion last year to €11 billion this year. After reporting a net gain of €405 million in Q1 08, the first quarter of 09 has a loss of €410 million on Fiat’s books.

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21 Comments on “Fiat Wants Opel...”

  • avatar

    I’m really hoping that Opel survives, but not at the hands of Fiat! Looks like Fiat is trying to get a toehold in any company it can (well, know, actually paying to take over any of those other companies!).

  • avatar

    I can’t figure if these companies (like Fiat) are more like flies on a turd, or vultures over a carcass.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Fiat knows that the only way they’ll survive is to be bigger than they are. So if they don’t get anything out of the Chrysler deal, which looks probable today, with one week to go, then they need to have a back-up.

    If you’re the German government, who would you rather have running what’s left of Opel?
    – A group of investors who include dealers, labor unions and states.
    – A group of investors who include dealers, labor unions, states and a company that’s in the EU and actually has experience running an automobile company.

    This week, Fiat can hedge their bets and say, “Let us help with Opel. We can then streamline the overlap at Fiat, Opel and Chrysler and emerge with an amazing company.” I can see it now “FOC” motors. Call it “FOC M” for short.

    I don’t believe it can happen for a minute, but then again, I’m not an egotistical Italian industrialist. And on the other hand, if Team Obama flinches and lets Chrysler live, then all I can say to that is “Advantage Fiat” and FOC M.

  • avatar

    “Fiat has a debt load of €14.2b and really bad liquidity problems. There is no other way fort them to raise funds,”

    This is exactly what I’ve believed, all along, about FIAT’s motives with Chrysler. They have no interest in running Chrysler, they are after the US gov bailout money.

  • avatar

    Why would Fiat want Chrysler or Opel?

    Doesn’t make any sense.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “Why would Fiat want Chrysler or Opel?”

    Fiat management believes the company is far too small to survive on its own. Deep discount fire sales of distressed companies can sometimes be a bargain. Then again, sometimes the food kills its predator.

  • avatar

    Hey, I haven’t got any money.

    Give Chrysler and Opel to me.

  • avatar

    Fiat has the chance to exponentially grow due to this downturn, carcasses or not, vultures they may be, but i think if their predictions come around right, and with a bit of sifting, they might be able to come out with a great line up in strategic brands with some value. but if their predictions are off, and they may be. Toni might not Fix it Again… Anymore.

  • avatar

    Well, a while back Hanz and Franz wanted to be free from GM. Be careful what you wish for. They want to call the shots put can’t put up the money. Good bye expensive German labor.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    Since Fiat and Opel already share platforms, diesel engines, gearboxes and so on, why not?

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer


    Not hardly anymore. After the GM-Fiat breakup, GM is doing its own diesel engines, and platforms too.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    Maybe eventually, in the future, but for now?

    Fiat Croma, Alfa 159, Alfa Spider, Alfa Brera – all on GM Epsilon.

    Fiat Grande Punto, Fiat Idea, Fiat Linea, Alfa MiTo, Lancia Musa – GM Gamma.

    I don’t know about any Opels with GM-developed diesels. The Insignia diesel lineup is 100% Fiat, and that’s the newest Opel with a pretty new Fiat diesel. I think there are still 1.7 Isuzu diesels for the Astra and Zafira though.
    Basically, all 1.3, 1.9 and 2.9L diesels are from the Fiat JV.
    The Antara uses a Daewoo diesel though. The whole Antara is a Daewoo anyway.

    Opel’s line of commercial vans is shared with Renault-Nissan and the Agila is a Suzuki.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Folks, you know what this means?

    The Chrysler deal is kaput. It won’t happen. I would say that there is a 90+% chance that the EU powers that be will strongly discourage Fiat from taking over Chrysler.

    Funny enough, this recent turn of events may be the first step in saving Opel and GM North America.

    Now all the mothership has to do is figure out a way to eliminate six brands, tens of billions in legacy costs, and more than half of it’s dealer network.

    That will be the C11 stage… which is already being developed as we type.

  • avatar

    “Fiat has a debt load of €14.2b and really bad liquidity problems. There is no other way fort them to raise funds,”

    My debt load is zero. Maybe they shold give Chrysler to me with a big pile of bailout cash and government guarantees. I seem to be in a much better financial position than Fiat. I have a history of paying back loans in a timely manner, and I’ve never been even close to bankruptcy. My wife can even be the CFO; she’s the finance manager (what they call their head of Human Resources and Accounting) with a local company.

  • avatar


    “Hey, I haven’t got any money.

    Give Chrysler and Opel to me.”

    You could probably run Chrysler and Opel better than FIAT would too.

  • avatar

    I still think GM is frittering away an awful lot of their engineering resources in Opel. Didn’t Opel have a lot to do with Epsilon and Delta platforms? With European driving dynamics being a target for many automakers these days, it seems to me that keeping your European division would be prudent. I guess not.

  • avatar

    Doesn’t Magna do a lot of CryCo stuff-build minivans or something?

    Might be a 4 way combo platter deal. Magna runs what little of Cryco is worth running (PUs and vans und jeep maybe) and then they bring in some Fopels from the shared platforms. Closing a bunch of Cryco plants and some Euro plants deals with the over cap issues (maybe). In Yurp they move to one name (Fiat-they are in what will look like control), save some Lira there.

    Not saying it is a great idea but not impossible.


  • avatar

    The new company would be called “Fiat/Opel/Chrysler United”

    Abbreviated to “FOC U”
    The grill badge could be a middle finger….

  • avatar

    Lumberg-I’m willing to sign on as head of Design and Engineering (for a reasonable integer multiple of my current salary and stock options, AU chute etc., position on BOD) ;^D

    Ditto on debt burden etc.

    Write something up and pitch it to Barry O., an “American effort to save CryCo!”

    OK-who’s got PR covered?


  • avatar

    If Fiat still wants to come back to the US market, the best way is thru Chrysler. If they have the time and the money they can slowly evolve Chrysler dealers into Fiat dealers. OR go broke trying.

  • avatar

    Hey Bunter, maybe my Brother-in-law could work for you in the reformulated Chrysler? He’s currently an engineer with GM (Delphi, actually), and I fear that he’s going to be looking for a job soon after 20+ years with the same company.

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