The Neverending Story of Opel

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

You thought the Magna/Sberbank/Union/Russia/GM/Et/Al. deal is done? It’s not. Germany is still talking to potential investors, says Reuters.

“We are still in contact with other investors,” said German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor von und zu Guttenberg at a joint news conference with British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson. Von und zu expressly named “BAIC for example . . . and others that I will not speak about here.” He did nonetheless, opining that Fiat may still have its eyes on Opel. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi took time off from meeting Gadaffi and his 18 yo girlfriend and said Fiat’s proposal for Opel is still on the table. Mandelson confirmed that Britain is prepared to offer financial support for the plan to rescue Opel, which includes British unit Vauxhall.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

More by Bertel Schmitt

Join the conversation
  • Grog Grog on Jun 11, 2009

    I've suddenly been hit with the idea that Fiat's trying to be the new millennium's GM. By that I mean how GM purchased and merged its way into becoming GM. Is this a precursor to creating yet another company, this one transnational that will be "too big to fail"?

  • Geo. Levecque Geo. Levecque on Jun 11, 2009

    Yes I too have heard that rumour too about Magna International and the German government always wanting more, they should spell it as "greed" and yes its never ending!

  • Superbadd75 Superbadd75 on Jun 11, 2009

    I'd really hate to see the Chinese get a hold of Opel, but I don't think Fiat's got any business taking them on right now, either. Fiat's got their hands full with Chrysler. Are there any other parties that are truly interested and in the running?

  • Tricky Dicky Tricky Dicky on Jun 12, 2009

    How is this a story about the German government wanting more? Two weeks ago, the Magna-fronted consortium were going to put in €500M to Opel and only cut 2,000 German jobs. Even then, Count Guttenberg was extremely unhappy to send Euros in the direction of the Russians (he's not stupid!). Now, we hear that the Magna consortium will only give €100M cash and provide the other €400M over time, as securitized loans. And they want to cut 3,600 German jobs and move production to Russia and Austria as soon as possible. We all know that Opel has over-capacity right now, so how does any of this sound like the Germans are asking for more? Seems to me that they are trying to make sure they get good value for their taxpayer's money. Unlike the $50BILLION DOLLARS going in to GM, who could yet go back into Chapter 11 once their business plan is shown to be weak and their remaining pension liabilities swallow them up again.