Opel FUBAR: CYA OR DOA?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

The GM-Opel-Magna-Sperbank deal is on its last gasp. On Friday, GM’s chief Opel negotiator, John Smith, said that nothing will happen until the GM BOD will get around to reconsider the sale at its next regular meeting on November 3, says Reuters. In the meantime, the matter turns into a chain letter exercise. Chain letters everybody wants to receive, but nobody wants to write.

As reported by TTAC, EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes wants letters from all parties involved, certifying that the deal had not been reached under political pressure. All parties involved, meaning GM, the Opel Trust that officially owns Opel, and the German government. Except a vague note from Berlin to Brussels, no letters have been written. Nobody wants to write, everybody wants to receive a letter:



Reuters says that “German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has asked GM to confirm that the automaker chose Magna for business and not political reasons.” No reply.

Instead, AFP reports that many members of GM’s Board of Directors now demand a letter from the German government that states that the €4.5b will “only be paid if the sale goes to Magna and Sperbank.” According to AFP, GM had sent am E-Mail to that effect to Berlin. No answer yet. Probably eaten by the SPAM filter. “The hell we will” was the most likely behind-the-doors reaction in Berlin. If that letter would be written, the deal would be DOA in Brussels.

According to Der Spiegel, the GM board hopes that they can keep Opel, collect the €4.5b in Berlin, close a plant or two in Germany, and send thousands of workers collecting unemployment benefits. Or else, Opel could go bankrupt. Again, GM is misreading German intentions. As reported previously, Berlin will happily choose bankruptcy, especially if they can blame it on the ugly Americans and/or the persnickety commissars in Brussels.

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="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

More by Bertel Schmitt

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 9 comments
  • Stingray Stingray on Oct 25, 2009
    GM had sent am E-Mail to that effect to Berlin. No answer yet. Probably eaten by the SPAM filter These matter are not handled through emails... If I were Berlin I'd say: the hell with this. Send a written letter MoFos, signed by your CEO. “The hell we will” was the most likely behind-the-doors reaction in Berlin. Would be lovely to hear it in German... but yes, if they answer they will give proof to GM. They're NOT stupid. GM is not going to reply to both EU or Germany because it's not convenient for their interests. Period. This game is far from done. I'm curious, but I haven't read much about the russian's moves. GM should get permission from its new overlords to transfer the money to both Opel and Daewoo if it don't want to repeat Chrysler's history.
  • Daanii2 Daanii2 on Oct 25, 2009
    The GM-Opel-Magna-Sperbank deal is on its last gasp. No other Websites seem to think the deal is in danger. Will TTAC be the prophet who gains credibility because it gets this prediction right? Or will TTAC lose credibility when the deal goes through a little late? Time will tell.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X As much problems as I had with my '96 Chevy Impala SS.....I would love to try one again. I've seen a Dark Cherry Metallic one today and it looked great.
  • Susan O’Neil There is a good reason to keep the Chevrolet Malibu and other 4 door family sedans! You can transport your parents and other somewhat handicapped people comfortably and safety! If someone can stand and pivot you can put them in your car. An armrest in the back seat is appreciated and a handle above the door! Oh…and leather seats so your passenger can slide across the seat! 😊Plus, you can place a full sized wheelchair or walker in the trunk! The car sits a little lower…so it’s doable! I currently have a Ford Fusion and we have a Honda Accord. Our previous cars were Mercury Sables-excellent for transporting handicapped people and equipment! As the population ages-sedans are a very practical choice! POV from a retired handicapped advocate and daughter! 😊
  • Freddie Remember those ads that say "Call your doctor if you still have...after four hours"?You don't need to call your doctor, just get behind the wheel of a CUV. In fact, just look at one.I'm a car guy with finite resources; I can't afford a practical car during the week plus a fun car on the weekend. My solution is my Honda Civic Si 4 door sedan. Maybe yours is a Dodge Charger (a lot of new Chargers are still on dealer lots).
  • Daniel J Interesting in that we have several weeks where the temperature stays below 45 but all weather tires can't be found in a shop anywhere. I guess all seasons are "good enough".
  • Steve Biro For all the talk about sedans vs CUVs and SUVs, I simply can’t bring myself to buy any modern vehicle. And I know it’s only going to get worse.
Next