GM "Postpones" Decision on Selling Opel to the Russians

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

In other words, it ain’t gonna happen. If GM was going to sell Opel to the Canadian-fronted Russian consortium, they would have done it. Remember, the German elections are coming. The sale would have pleased the Russians, Germans and Canadians, but since they aren’t going to do it before September 27, it’s a clear indication that GM’s either going to sell Opel to Belgian-based private equity boys RHJ International or . . . raise some cash, pay off the Germans’ €1.5 billion “bridge loan,” put some more money in the brand’s empty coffers and keep Opel as the US outpost of a nationalized American automaker that provides a host of unloved automobile platforms to moribund GM badge engineers. Automotive News [sub] doesn’t quite make that analysis, but it’s close enough for government work. At least they see the downside . . .

Sources familiar with the negotiations have said that GM is considering raising $4 billion to keep control of Opel.

GM could contribute more than 1 billion euros of its own money to retain Opel, while governments in the U.K., Spain and Poland that are home to major manufacturing operations would finance another 1 billion.

GM could also raise money by selling or mortgaging the automaker’s assets in China, one source said. GM is no longer barred from using funding from the U.S. government to support its international operations, but taking this route could trigger a domestic political storm in the United States.

Ya think? Not to mention how Chancellor Merkel will feel if/when she’s reelected after GM failed to help her out by flogging Opel to the Ruskies. Could Merkel call the loan and throw Opel into bankruptcy, so that the Russians could pick up Opel for pennies on the dollar? She could. One way or another, payback’s a bitch.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Sep 08, 2009

    The real reason GM is fighting all the way? All the valuable small car tech is vested within Opel, and anyone who grabs Opel will be an immediate small car competitor for GM in every market.

  • Npbheights Npbheights on Sep 08, 2009

    GM should have gotten serious about selling Opals in the US instead of blowing billions creating Saturn. They might have gotten a lot of people into a GM product without them really knowing it. It could have been marketed as an upsacale European import like an Audi or BMW, and it might have caught on a little better w/o all of the investment that Saturn took, although it would have taken a separate sales channel like Saturn, not an afterthought at a Buick dealership like in the '70's Would have negated any reason to buy SAAB too.

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