China Still Eyeing Opel And Volvo

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

China isn’t giving up its quest for distressed and desperate Western auto assets.

On the Opel front, Magna reportedly has hit a rough patch. Reuters says that RHJ International, a former bidder for Opel, is back in the running and may be close to a deal. Financial Times says that BAIC will also hand in a formal bid. The news wire cautions that the sudden bidding activity may be just “a ploy to pressure Magna to reach a final agreement by a mid-July deadline on terms acceptable to GM.”

At the same time “China’s Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp (BAIC), rival Geely, and at least one Western industrial group remain interested in Ford Motor Co’s Volvo car unit,” says Reuters, citing the industry’s prime source, the “person close to the situation.”

Geely is making plans to visit Volvo in Sweden one more time this week. They must be very serious, because return trips to China can earn you a week’s vacation on the Chinese government’s Yuan: Sit within three rows of a person with elevated temperature, and you’ll spend seven days quarantined.

Both BAIC and Geely had denied in the past that they are interested in foreign acquisitions, but this is considered as part of the game in China.

Ah, and then there’s Hummer. That deal supposedly is still on, despite much flak from China’s central government. Gasgoo says that Tengzhong will begin talking with Chinese regulators this week to seek approval for the buy. But they also rightly point out that ” the regulatory approval process is unlikely to start until Tengzhong and GM have finalized the details of their Hummer deal.” One does not file a letter of understanding with the Chinese government.

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.

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  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jul 01, 2009

    So why are we doing so much business with a communist government (China) when we were highly restricted from doing business with another big communist gov't (Soviet Union) and are STILL restricted from doing business with Cuba??? Just curious...

  • Wsn Wsn on Jul 02, 2009

    Yep, what do you need from a communist government, when you can have your own communist government?