Berlin To Whitacre: You Are Beyond Salvage

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

An uncouth interview, given by GM Chairman Ed Whitacre to the German newspaper Muenchner Merkur at the sidelines of an event at the Texas Lutheran University, has shut the doors on any donations Berlin may make to Opel’s cause. Aus. Vorbei.

“I think we won’t be needing money from your government for Opel,” Whitacre said to the Merkur reporter who had come all the way to Seguin, Texas. “If Mrs. Merkel declines help, we will pay for it ourselves. Maybe this will make your chancellor happy.”

When asked whether Barack Obama (Ed & Barack are close) had influenced the decision to stop the Opel sale, Whitacre laughed and gave a “no comment.”

German government officials could not believe the interview. The same day the interview had appeared, GM’s Smith & Reilly had come begging to Berlin. Incredulous, the German government asked in Washington and at GM whether Whitacre’s statements were true. The statements were confirmed.

After the interview had been corroborated both in DC and Detroit, Jens Weidmann, advisor of Angela Merkel, sat down and wrote a terse letter to GM, reports Die Welt today. With Whitacre’s statement, any basis for GM receiving any money from Germany would be null and void. After all, “GM has shown an alternative to rescue Opel.” Don’t you ever come back begging again. We are through with you. (And we have someone to blame, we’ve tried.)

(Yesterday, a spokesperson of GME, who apparently had not received the memo, added to the confusion by saying that GM would still count on government help. Never mind. News travels slowly at GM. When asked to comment on Merkel’s statement before the German parliament, that she feels duped by GM’s management, Whitacre said: “This surprises me, it’s the first time I’ve heard about this.”)

Says Die Welt: “Opel has many problems. Their biggest problem fits into a conference room and sits in Detroit. It’s the leadership of GM. Chairman Whitacre publicly doesn’t give a damn about German government aid. GM CEO Fritz Henderson emphatically demands it.”

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

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  • Lahru Lahru on Nov 14, 2009

    To say that Whitacre is qualified to be Chairman of the board of General Motors due to his past performance in the telecommunication industry does hold water IMO. He took a company that had millions of customers paying for phone service every month and used those proceeds to leverage the company's ability to go to Wall St. and get cash to purchase more telephone companies at a time when credit was easy to get and lending requirements were lax. He is now in charge of a multination company in debt two yards above it's eyeballs and lending standards and have changed severly. In his previuous job he was courted by Wall St. for his companies desire to get larger and they were more than happy to loan, loan, loan them the money. Oh, how times have changed and now he is refusing/denying the present day circumstances because his mind is clouded with the ego high of being chairman of General Motors and believes the world must bow to him and Ms, Mrs,Missy,Misses, whatever? I'm the chairman of General Motors the largest car company in the WORLD and I'll talk to her however I want, dammit! I'm the chairman of General Motors. Notice he went back to Texas Lutheran Universsity to give his speech so he could puff out his chest and show the boys and girls back home how succesful he is. A fish dies from the head and when you have someone as arrogant as Whitacre trying to run the company pineing to emulate Jack Smith's success years ago the only thing that will stop him is his own arrogance and lack of easy money. How's that Volt comin'?

    • Rnc Rnc on Nov 16, 2009

      He led the company (SBC the smallest of the baby-Bells) as the telecom world transformed from a collection of mini-monopolies to the wide open world of wireless and broadband (and came out of it with the largest most profitable company). Regardless of GM, what he accomplished at SBC was amazing, they should have been the one swallowed and they did the eating.

  • GS650G GS650G on Nov 15, 2009

    How is it possible for GM to have CEOs like this? Where did he get off making such remarks to the press like that? Could it be they want Opel to crash so they can break the unions? The German tax payers just saved a few billion. We didn't. Guess who pays for Ed's remarks and plans?

  • Tassos Jong-iL Mr. Healey, honesty is key and there have been several accusations about your biases towards different brands. We hope you can prove these badactors wrong and show us the proper way.
  • Redapple2 37% USA Canada content. This should pass you off ! THIRTY SEVEN.
  • Theflyersfan I guess I should have kept my first ever car which was also a 1987 Nissan. Probably could have sold it for $50,000 by now if I was living in this fantasy world where used up 37 year old Nissans sell for the same price as a new Versa. I wish a link was here so all of us can check out this treasure among junk 200SX. The only way this car is even remotely worth that kind of money is if there are illicit substances hidden somewhere in the frame that, as part of the sale, you have to drive across the border and "make a delivery." Otherwise, get that thing off of my lawn.
  • Sobro Needs moar Roots.