Opel Going Nowhere Fast
February 2nd, 2010 9:19 AM Share
Opel is running out of time and out of money. In the second quarter of 2010, the company will be out of cash again, figures the German Handelsblatt. As indicated yesterday, discussions with the unions are going nowhere. Says the Handelsblatt:”Management is preparing for a breakdown of the talks.” Reilly and his crew are trying to find ways how to get Opel going without wage concessions by the unions. But how?
GM does not want to contribute any money, said works council members to the Handelsblatt. Remains government help. However, peace with the workers, and a considerable contribution by GM are preconditions for any government help, is the word from Berlin. The relations with the workers are heading towards war. Members of the Opel Supervisory council, such as union leader Armin Schild are against state aid. As long as the unions are battling with Opel management, propping up Opel management with tax payers’ money is no smart political move. Music in the ears of economy minister Brüderle, who also is against pouring money down a black hole. This is going nowhere fast.
Published February 2nd, 2010 9:09 AM
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My family lived in Germany for 5 years (1996-2001)while my dad (a ~30 year GM employee) worked on assignment for Opel. I once asked him how Opel could be having financial problems (back then they were, too) when I could see lots Opels on the road literally everywhere I went. His response: "When a company sells a product for less than it costs to make it, that company is going to have financial problems." Such a simple truth that it is astoundingly little-heeded.
"GM had the opportunity to turn Opel-Saab into the next VW-Audi but miserably failed...again" GM has owned Opel since the second crusade. In the fifties, Opel could sell cars that competed with Mercedes; into the seventies, their standing as a brand was still ahead of VW and Ford. Falling behind these two competitors really shows how poorly they have been managed. This disaster has been long in the making; it parallels GM's slow but thorough decline in North America.
In the end, I think the union is stalling. If Opel goes under, they are going to be out of a job. I guess that is ok in Europe, with all the entitlements they like to hand out.
I hope they're able to pull through, I've always like Opel. The new Ampera looks pretty sweet, much nicer curves than the Volt.