By on June 15, 2009

Snickers in Detroit, horrors in Rüsselsheim: Suddenly departed Government Motors purchasing chief Bo Andersson is taking a job in Russia. He will be Putin charge as chairman of Russian automaker Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod, better known as hapless GAZ.

Along with Russia’s Sberbank and Canadian Magna, GAZ wants to take over GM’s Opel. After departing GM to the cheers of the oppressed suppliers, Andersson immediately pitched his tent in Russia where he works as consultant for the GAZ board and as an adviser to oligarch Oleg Deripaska, as Automotive News [sub] reports. The cost cutter’s arrival in Russia will horrify Opel as Germany awakes to the news. It may be yet another nail in the coffin of the Opel/Magna/Sperbank/GAZ/GM/Germany/Russia group grope. In recent elections, Germany had voted for taking failed companies off life support.

History buffs or Wikipedia readers will remember that after GAZ was founded in 1929 with the help of Ford, “many American engineers and skilled auto workers moved to the Soviet Union to work at GAZ. Hundreds of American workers stayed on after the plant’s completion in 1932, often with their families. They had to deliver their American passports and within a few years became victims of Stalin’s Great Terror, either shot or exiled to Soviet gulags.”

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14 Comments on “GM VP Defects to Russia...”


  • avatar
    Will from oz

    He can still support his cocaine, GulfStream and handy women/boys from Russia.

    The Havana’s may seem more like ashes in his mouth and not be as satisfying.

    Poor GAZ…forests and trees.

  • avatar
    kaleun

    Russia should be very familiar to GM staff:
    – if you critisize management you will get killed or disappear otherwise
    – the Poliburo members drive much better cars than are produced for the people
    – the Politburo members always tell everything is fine (and probably believe it) until the wall comes down (and still live in denial)
    – Russia draws from resources it gained by takeovers, exploits them, ruins them, and then leaves a desert after it is done with them
    – everything bad will be blamed on external circumstances (like the 4 biggest enemies of the socialist economy: winter, spring, summer, fall)
    – workers get paid to hang out and do nothing when a tool broke or material ran out, and that very often and systematically

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Now GAZ builds last generation of Sebring but keeps Americans employed by purchasing US built engines.

  • avatar
    ttacfan

    How come there are still Politburo jokes 18 years after Politburo is gone?

  • avatar
    kaleun

    ttacfan: the Politburo still is there.. now allegedly with “elections” (except everyone seriously running against the government gets arrested or killed), the largest companies belong to the state (and operate accordingly)… and military invades republics who try to be independent.
    Sure, the names have changed…. like China (except with less technology)

    I was only describing Russia today.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    ttacfan: the Politburo still is there.. now allegedly with “elections” (except everyone seriously running against the government gets arrested or killed), the largest companies belong to the state (and operate accordingly)… and military invades republics who try to be independent.
    Sure, the names have changed…. like China (except with less technology)

    I was only describing Russia today.

    Or a slightly more harsh version of the US Congress?

    “…a few short hours, flat out against the redline…with no catalytic converters, and no 55 mile per hour speed limit!”

    That’s why I like cars.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    In Soviet America, hapless apparatchik defects to Russia!

  • avatar
    Tricky Dicky

    Seriously Bertel, what’s the risks here for Opel? Now that Magna are crossing the line from supplier to owner-partner, does it matter that the knowledge of the GM Purchasing Veep also crosses sides?

    Maybe GM could be worried now that they are headed for a contractual relationship with Opel, but the technology licensing fees are fixed between GM and Opel. I am thinking that the only people who should really be worried about Mr.Andersson (is it possible to say that name without thinking about the Matrix?!), would be Magna-rival suppliers to Opel.

    I’m wondering what specifically would make the German government worry about the appointment, apart from the fact that the whole deal involves throwing German taxpayer money that will principally benefit Russian enterprise. I’m still amazed that the German public will subsidise the Russian technology fishing trip. Once the current and next gen Opel platforms have been fully used, what will be left in Germany?

  • avatar
    Jan Andersson

    As an old army officer, Bo Andersson knows how to take and give orders.

  • avatar

    Tricky: As written, the German public is more and more against subsidizing anything, especially Russian fishing trips.”Let them go bankrupt” wins elections. Quite amazingly.

  • avatar
    gogogodzilla

    To Kaleun:

    Somehow…

    …this just seems fitting.

    Kaleun, your post hit it spot-on.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    great comment, kaleun

    re: the sad fate of American workers at GAZ in the 1930’s. That’s not what the New York Times’ Putlizer Prize winning reporter, Walter Duranty, was telling the US part of the world about dear comrade Steel’s activities.

  • avatar
    pleiter

    Tricky Dicky and Bertell,
    The question was: what’s the risk to Opel ?
    Well, did anyone check Bo’s pockets as he was shown the door ?
    Does anyone remember the Ignacio Lopez fiasco ? Except now, instead of boxes or paper, it’s a thumb drive, and a small one at that. And if I right, it will be GM both times. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  • avatar
    Tricky Dicky

    Pleiter – I do remember the Lopez fiasco – that was the one involving VW… but I’m still not sure why GM would be worried about Andersson taking IP away with him because it’s not really like he’s swapping sides so much.

    The biggest gainers will be the Russians, who will surely want to find out what western companies are paying for parts. First they will want to buy in, then they will want to clean up. I hope Bertel is right and that the German public allows an ‘Arcandor’ scenario to work out.

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