GM Tried to Punt Russians From Magna's Opel Offer

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

The GM Opel saga continues—at least until it doesn’t. Meanwhile, Spiegel is reporting that GM pressured the German government to separate the Russians (OAO Sberbank and automaker GAZ) from the Canadians (Magna) to make an Opel sale more palatable to its owners (the American government). Spiegel’s sources say Germany nixed the request; it had made promises to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about the sanctity (if you want to call it that) of the deal. For those of you who want a little background on this international game of chess, the World Socialist Website has the 411.

GM has been active in Russia since 2001 producing its Chevrolet brand in a factory in Togliatti on the Volga river run jointly with Russian auto company AvtoVaz Jeeps. Initial plans to produce the Opel Astra in Togliatti or shift the German Bochum Opel plant to Russia have failed to be realised.

In 2006, there was a dispute when the ownership of Avtovaz changed hands. The Russian armaments export company Rosoboronexport bought up a huge number of shares in the company and obtained a majority holding. The new owners then briefly stopped production.

According to the German Handelsblatt newspaper in February 2006, ‘The Russians want to chase out the Americans and run the business alone in future.’ GM remained involved, and Magna also intends to increase production at this factory, which would then be part of the ‘new Opel company.’

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Rada Rada on Aug 31, 2009

    ^ At least in China the deadbeat criminal scum is given wrenches and does useful work, unlike here. kurkosdr, millions of welfare receipents, including the useless prison system, depend on you, work harder!

  • Ttacfan Ttacfan on Aug 31, 2009

    Re: Those Russian ... crapmobile makers make all the money they make, just because the subjects of the Russian government ... are forced to purchase their cars from them. Is that right? Haven't been in Russia since mid 90th, but from the pictures that I see there seems to be not that many newer Russian cars on the streets, unless you count Russian-made Chevy/Daewoos.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Aug 31, 2009
    and since manufacturing is done by convict workers ... kurkosdr: I live in China and I see more factories for parts and cars than I like. I can assure you that people who work there are not in shackles and the foremen don't carry shotguns. People get paid and line up in front of the factories for jobs. See, people of China and Russia grew up with a bicycle and a tok-tok, so they really can’t tell the differnce. Hmmm. Where have you been? On Mars? Did you get the memo that China is the world's largest auto market? Ok, so numbers don't impress you. How about the world's largest Mercedes S-Class market? Rada: Did you know that a favorite product of the U.S, prison system is stretch limos? Now that's forced labor in style ....
  • Menno Menno on Aug 31, 2009

    Sounds to me like the Russians oligarchs are playing Monopoly in real life. Just last week, there were indications that the Russian Government wanted a Russian Leyland, merging Avtovaz (LADA) with two other part-government owned entities. Yet here we see that Gaz, Sperbank and Magna obviously have plans to take over Opel and presumably take over Avtovaz, in order to build Opels in Russia! Hey, you just landed on my Park Lane, and I have a Hotel on it. Pay up! Except this is what passes for real life in a world dominated by fascist governments. Fascism = the merger of corporate and government interests (leaving the proles/people/voters out of the equation). So we American's can't point and laugh at the Russians or the Germans or the Chinese - we have Government Motors and Chicago-Italia Mobster Motors, ourselves.