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  (Source: Opel Insignia OPC Sports Tourer )

Opel Ampera (Chevrolet Volt twin)
Germany and the U.S. government's failure to reach a deal could devastate GM spin-off Opel

With General Motors hanging on the verge of bankruptcy, one nation which may be critically affected is Germany.  Home to Opel Motors, a huge GM European subsidiary, the nation has much to lose if a deal to spin off Opel and separate it from the troubled GM fails.  However, despite strong interest between top potential bidders -- Canadian parts supplier Magna and Italian automaker (and partial owner of Chrysler) Fiat -- the window to cut a deal is fast closing.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an emergency session after 12 hour talks between Germany and the U.S. concluded with no deal.  Germany blames GM and the U.S. Treasury for souring talks.  The talks saw Germany seeking to shield Opel from a GM bankruptcy, making it a more viable takeover target, but it found that GM and the U.S. aren't very willing to do that.  Mr. Steinmeier still has hope for a deal, stating, "[I will] urgently ask that attention is directed at Opel in the coming hours."

Meanwhile GM heads towards a likely bankruptcy on June 1, despite an eleventh hour deal with bondholders.  The success came after last minute moves by the U.S. Treasury to sweeten the deal for bondholders.  In addition to allowing them to both trade their $27B USD in bonds for a 10 percent stake in the company, it allowed them the chance to buy 15 percent of GM's stock at a greatly discounted price -- the extra incentive is what won them over. 

However, the Treasury Department believes GM's problems are too hard to solve outside bankruptcy.  The Treasury Department also believes that it must take ownership of the company to solve its problems -- it will have a 72 majority percent stake in the company, post-bankruptcy, in exchange for the bailout loans and the money it will spend on the bankruptcy. 

The bankruptcy will be the largest industrial bankruptcy in the nation's history.

Unlike GM in the U.S., its European holdings -- Opel and Vauxhall -- are slight more solvent, with enough liquidity to continue operations through the fall.  Germany hopes that a deal will remove Opel from GM during bankruptcy.  If it succeeds Opel may fetch a handsome price. 

Magna Chairman Frank Stronach poured fuel on a potential bidding war fire, saying his company had significantly boosted the amount of capital it was able to offer for an acquisition.  A 300M € ($418.3M USD) offer by Magna was already rejected.  Still, Magna is considered the leading candidate, though Fiat remains in serious contention.  A dark horse is China's Beijing Automotive Industry Corp, which made an offer, which was rejected as too vague.  It could return at any time with a more concrete offer if it desires.

Opel employs 25,000 Germans.  GM (U.S.) employs about 90,000 and recently gave its U.S. employees an early paycheck in preparation for the uncertainty of bankruptcy.



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That's what you get...
By quiksilvr on 5/28/2009 1:44:15 PM , Rating: -1
When you decide that the consumers should find the problems with your vehicles instead of spending a bit more money on error and reliability analysis.

And even more so when you decide for the car to fail at 100-150 thousand miles so that we have to buy a new car within 5-10 years.




RE: That's what you get...
By StevoLincolnite on 5/28/2009 2:04:11 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't ever had an issue with my Holden Commodore VN, which is 20 years old, done 350,000 km's on the clock, and still has much of the original engine parts, like Pumps, Idle Pully etc' from the day it was bought, except the alternator and coil pack, which was replaced with second hand ones. (I do all my services myself), The car has been reliable, and the old Buick V6 motor keeps on ticking.

Yet my Neighbor has a VX Commodore, factory fitted LPG, and it just LOVES to bend push-rods, thankfully I can pick up a push rod for only $5.

You win some, you loose some, for instance I have an old TV that's 20 years old, yet my other TV went on 3 years old and died. ~ they just don't mak'em like they used to!


RE: That's what you get...
By Atheist Icon on 5/28/2009 3:54:01 PM , Rating: 3
Your right...no other company designs their products to break or fail. You know, becuase those companies are not in it to make money. And it possibly couldn't be the ignorance of the American consumer though either...no way.


RE: That's what you get...
By walk2k on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: That's what you get...
By Atheist Icon on 5/28/2009 8:15:08 PM , Rating: 2
Toyota was smart with the mechanically ignorant American public. They designed their motors to run with a non-interference design. So if some did not properly maintain their vehicle and the timing belt broke, the piston would not ram full speed into the valves.

On the other hand the big 3, big 1 now, decided against that, feeling the American public was smarter than that. Look where it got them.


RE: That's what you get...
By matt0401 on 5/29/2009 12:55:43 AM , Rating: 2
So Business 101 is basically to assume your buying public is retarded?

I'll keep that in mind. I'm heading into business at uni next year. :)


RE: That's what you get...
By Atheist Icon on 5/29/2009 8:57:52 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
So Business 101 is basically to assume your buying public is retarded?


Ahh, yes. Otherwise there wouldn't be warning labels on Hair Dryers telling you not to take them into the bath tub, that you shouldn't put metal in the Microwave, that touching exposed wires in your house that are live could kill you, small toys are choking hazards to young ones, starbursts should be eaten with care, mcdonalds coffee is hot, do not ingest superglue, etc, etc.

Considering that, it's not surprising that unless the buying public is explicitly told how to/not to do something, it's the companies fault selling the product.


RE: That's what you get...
By thepenguin99 on 5/29/2009 12:58:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Toyota was smart with the mechanically ignorant American public. They designed their motors to run with a non-interference design. So if some did not properly maintain their vehicle and the timing belt broke, the piston would not ram full speed into the valves.


Ok, stop the terrible information please. Toyota has made non-interference engines but they also make interference engines just like every other car company. As an example the 22R family, one of the better known toyota engines, is an interference engine. Toyota and Honda are dominating the US automakers because they quite simply made better cars overall for the last 30 years than any of the US companies. That seems to be changing though (with the possible exception of Chrysler) so hopefully the big 3 can compete.


RE: That's what you get...
By Atheist Icon on 5/29/2009 8:42:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ok, stop the terrible information please. Toyota has made non-interference engines but they also make interference engines just like every other car company. As an example the 22R family, one of the better known toyota engines, is an interference engine.


True, but it didn't hurt toyota image to initially build their motors in the non-interference manner.

quote:
Toyota and Honda are dominating the US automakers because they quite simply made better cars overall for the last 30 years than any of the US companies.


They are dominating, true.

quote:
That seems to be changing though (with the possible exception of Chrysler) so hopefully the big 3 can compete.


We need to change it to Ford, instead of the Big 3. The Government cannot run a business, let alone an automotive business. As long as the Government is running GM and Chrysler, I will not buy a single car from them. GM and Chrysler will never be competitive until they shed the Government.


RE: That's what you get...
By Samus on 5/29/2009 4:47:13 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
And even more so when you decide for the car to fail at 100-150 thousand miles so that we have to buy a new car within 5-10 years.


All cars, even Daewoo's and Yugo's can last for hundreds of thousands of miles. This isn't a design, engineering or manufacturing question. It's a maintenance question. Eventually you reach a point where the vehicle is no longer cost-effective to maintain.

Practically everybody has figured out how to make a reliable internal combustion engine by now, with Hyundai a little late to the game for inline-4's in the 90's, eventually solving their crank walk problems...but vehicle maintenance depends a lot on where you drive and how you drive.

In California, where weather is ideal and roads are in great shape, just about any car can last quite awhile with minimal front-end maintenance, low chance of rust, etc. But you can get sun damage and transmission failures because of the uphill battles you might have in hot, rush hour traffic over the years.

In Chicago, where weather is shit (either too hot or too cold) and roads are third-world quality, you will constantly have to maintain brakes, wheels/tires, front end components such as tie-rods, ball joints, suspension...and rust is a major concern because of salt. Additionally, you wont put on that many miles because the average commuter drives just 5000 miles a year.

The reason I find all this interesting is because...in the midwestern states, domestic auto sales are significantly higher than the coastal states. I don't think that has to do with people being 'open-minded' or this and that like the media sometimes says, but I think it has to do with Detroit building cars for Detroit, that is, a place with potholes, snow, salt, heat, humidity, etc.

Every foreign car I've ever owned I spent significantly more maintaining than my domestic counter part (I drive small cars, usually owning more than one at a time) and I believe its because, even today, foreign cars aren't correctly engineered and designed for all of America.


"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein














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