Opel Sale Founders on the Rocks of Potential Patent Perfidy

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

When Russian automaker GAZ teamed-up with Canada’s Magna Corporation to make a play for GM’s Opel division, TTAC’s Best and Brightest saw the danger: the Russians could use GM’s global small and midsize platform to build cars to compete with Chevy in the Motherland. “Ви́лами на воде́ пи́сано!” they proclaimed. True dat; the deal was written with a pitchfork on a flowing water. Wabusinessnews.com reports that the German government snookered GM; the feds will only provide funding for Opel if Magna is the preferred bidder (over remaining rival RHJ International SA). So why didn’t GM bite the proverbial пуля?

Turns out Uncle Sam’s $62 billion bailout has left the artist formerly known as the world’s largest automaker feeling a bit bolshy.

‘This is not something they would have chosen to do in the first place. It was necessary for financial reasons,’ said Peter Kelly, senior director of global forecasting with J.D. Power and Associates, in Oxford, England. ‘But when the finances looked a bit better, not just in Europe but at home, it could be reason to take stock again.’

So where does that leave Opel?

Under an arrangement formed earlier this year to keep Opel out of GM’s filing for bankruptcy protection, 65 per cent of the carmaker has been formally under the care of a trustee since the beginning of June, with GM holding the remaining 35 per cent.

The Germans aren’t happy with the status quo. But it’s hard to see how they can force GM to sell Opel. (They can, of course, let it go bankrupt as and when.) Despite the fact that the U.S. government owns GM, and the Obama administration has declared its intentions to remain non-interventionist on the matter. We shall see.

[Thanks to Pete Moran for the link.]

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

More by Robert Farago

Join the conversation
2 of 10 comments
  • Hermaphroditolog Good hybrid cars use ICE implosion mode.Mercedes-EQXX uses implosion turbines (turboexpanders) for regeneration from heat losses.
  • Kosmo I, for one, and maybe only one, would buy a 5.0 L, stickshift variant of the sedan/hatchback that is Ford's "Not A Mustang EV" tomorrow.I'd buy the sportwagon version yesterday.
  • Akear I am counting the days when Barra retires. She has been one long nightmare for GM. People don't realize the Malibu outsells all GM EVs combined.
  • Redapple2 you say; most car reviewers would place it behind the segment stalwarts from Honda and Toyota,........................... ME: Always so. Every single day since the Accord / Camry introduction.
  • Akear GM sells only 3000 Hummer EVs annually. It is probably the worst selling vehicle in GM history.