By on September 5, 2009

You don’t have to be a poli sci major to figure-out that the German government wants the Obama administration to strong-arm GM into sell its ailing Opel division to a consortium of Canadians and Russians (Magna, Sberbank and GAZ). The fact that the Germans are talking to the Americans about the deal is proof enough that high-level pressure is the order of the day. In other words, German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck doth protest too little. “Speaking at a press conference following the meeting of finance ministers and central bank heads from the Group of 20 largest economies, [Steinbrueck] said his impression is that the U.S. government will leave the decision about Opel with the General Motor’s board of directors,” CNNMoney reports. “And won’t exercise ‘massive influence.'” Just enough influence, then?

“I have told him what the (German federal) government’s position is, that we are very much interested that the current vacuum will finally be filled,” he said. “The government still favors the industrial policy concept of Magna and therefore this partner.”

He added that Germany’s willingness to provide aid “is clearly linked to this partner.”


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16 Comments on “German Government to Obama: Sell Opel to Magna...”

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    “SELL” Opel to Magna???

    Why doesn’t the Black Lucifer just GIVE it away…like he did Chrysler??????

    Just GIVE it away. Maybe the Poles will like it.

    Merry Christmas…hell, we have $ growing on trees …we don’t need any stinkin’ balanced budget!!!!

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    Just don’t sign the agreement at Munich, Mr. Obama…

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    If it is such a critical element of GM’s ability to build and sell cars, I don’t get why, after all the money sunk in the general until now, that Washington doesn’t throw it a few B more to buy Opel out of hock…

    BTW, Steinbrück has earned a reputation here in Switzerland for saying contraversial things… from Spiegel on Line: “First he threatened to “whip them” like children, and then he compared them with Indians knuckling under to the financial cavalry. Peer Steinbrück has infuriated the Swiss with his tactless rhetoric, and a right-wing member of the Swiss parliament has even called for a boycott of German cars.”

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    It might be “a plan” for GM to finally DO something – anything about this, don’t ya thunk? Anyone watching a company bumble through a sale for this over extended period of time, would naturally conclude that they are incompetent, and therefore there is no way they could be trusted to make a reliable car. Its embarrassing watching them fumble continuously, seemingly unable to make any decisions at all.

    Oops I forgot! Its GM we are talking about! Carry on!

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    Now lets see if GM still can actually engineer a car from the ground up in Detroit. The Corvette is a good starting point.

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    I wonder how much “doing nothing” is costing the US taxpayer every month.

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    It is pretty clear that none of the Detroit 3 can engineer a car (as opposed to a pickup or SUV) from the ground up in North America.

    The decision to abandon this capability is almost certainly irreversible.

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    For many weeks now posters on TTAC have been saying that Opel is important to GM as a design center.

    Why? What are the Opel designers needed for? Suspensions, frames, engines, body designs, or fit & finish know how?

    If Opel designers are important why did GM allow this expertise to drift into one spot on the globe?

    Some history please. Thank you.

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    Opel is needed to make cars. GM made an efficiency decision to let Opel design cars and GMNA design trucks. They never planned to loose Opel. Old GM was forced on its deathbed to divest Opel and the big problem with American giving state support is what happend with AMC and Renault. It has nothing to do with “socialisme” or American politics but a GM that can survive simply needs Opel. If Opel is cut loose than GM will be Chryslered and unimportant in a few years.

    Europe is in love with America (Bush who?)so it is not like they want to see a big American company go Dodo.

    Folkdancer i forgot to answer your question. They need Opel for suspensions, frames, engines, body designs, fit & finish and everything else but inserting cupholders know how. I may be joking about the cupholder know how as i’m not so sure GMNA has that

  • avatar

    GM needs Opel for design? Based on what I see on the lots, except for the niche vehicles, all the cars look the same regardless of manufacturer. It’s as if they were all designed by the same team.

  • avatar
    Tricky Dicky

    I think this is perhaps one example where you can see a clear strategy coming out of The General*.

    GM are trying to find every which way to delay a decision about what to do with Opel because they absolutely 100% do not want to lose the capabilities that Opel brings to it’s global platform strategy (small and medium sized passenger car engineering). Least of all do they want to sell to Russia via their Magna proxy.

    After the German election on 27th September, the German gov’t is in a much better position to come to a working compromise with GM about financing Opel and doing some restructuring. GM just have to ride out the name-calling and pressure for the next 3 weeks.

    *I say clear strategy, because Fritz H. was all ready to give in and sign the Opel-Magna paperwork. It was the new Chairman Whiteacre that gave GM some spine by asking the question, “How will GM cope without Opel?”. Why that question was asked so late in the day, after all the Ch.11 Corporate Re-engineering was completed, is a genuine mystery to me.

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    If GM cannot engineer and design a vehicle in North America maybe they should be out of the business of producing cars. This inability to engineer cars in NA is why Wagoner and Lutz have a worse legacy then Roger Smith. Even the Chinese are trying to at least engineer and design their own cars.

    Wagoner is the best thing to happen to Smith’s legacy.

    Can you imagine Boeing engineering and designing all their aircraft abroad.

    Bye, bye GM enjoy your 17% marketshare next year.

    >> “How will GM cope without Opel?”. Why that question was asked so late in the day, after all the Ch.11 Corporate Re-engineering was completed, is a genuine mystery to me.”>>

    This is because GM has such severe ADD that they cannot look at the future or the past. They just live in the present and don’t see any implications beyond that .

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    Can you imagine Boeing engineering and designing all their aircraft abroad.?

    Actually yes. Mitsubitshi in Japan makes the wings of the 787 what is the core engineering of an airplan.

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    Can you imagine Boeing engineering and designing all their aircraft abroad.?

    Actually yes the new CEO is moving to outsource even more of the design/engineering and actual building of the planes to China and India so that all Boeing in reality becomes is the final assembler, the engineers are terrified of this as the experience with the 787 has been rough, but on the corporate/global side, the CEO is terrified of what China may become in the next 20 years in commercial aerospace.

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    And final assembly isn’t the hard part of aircraft engineering so you just know what will happen when the replacement of the 787 is designed. It will be assembled somewhere else.

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