Blog: Dave LeggettGM retaining Opel/Vauxhall? Yes...maybe not

Dave Leggett | 10 September 2009

It sounds like GM is pulling out all the stops to go with the preferred option of retaining Opel/Vauxhall though nothing is official yet. It was always a reluctant seller and the very public posturing by the German government with respect to the Magna bid may actually have helped GM in its discussions with other European governments in countries with Opel/Vauxhall plants. 'So, Mandy, what can the British government do for us should we want to, let's say, hang on to our European operations with a view to restructuring operations ourselves and retaining the most efficient plants?' We may get a statement later today.

[13:30 BST] Yes, we will - an Opel Trust press conference in Berlin is taking place in Berlin at 16:15 CET at which Fred Irwin and John Smith 'will announce the decision on the investor in a majority stake in Opel/Vauxhall'. Decision 'on the investor in a majority stake'? Has that given the game away? Does that mean it is indeed a sale, after all?

There is still plenty of speculation in all directions. A more reliable leak from the board could spring at any moment, but we'll know soon enough, so we may as well all calm ourselves down.

Why has this whole thing been so protracted? Maybe GM bent over backwards to work out a way to retain Opel (consultants were on the case, also) but in the end concluded that the cost would be too high and there were just too many potentially thorny problems associated with upsetting Germany's government (of whatever complexion) and also the conditions attached to GM's federal aid in the US.   

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