Back in 2009, when US car giant General Motors were facing bankruptcy, they were trying to unload as many things as they could in an effort to survive and one of those was Vauxhall/Opel. A deal was almost agreed with a consortium led by Magna and the Russian’s Sberbank, however at the last minute the governments in Canada and the USA decided to open purses and give GM an absolutely huge cash injection which meant GM could survive and that divesting itself of Vauxhall/Opel wasn’t a must do anymore.
Despite that, GM is still keen to unload the loss making Vauxhall/Opel and the latest rumours suggest they have been in talks with German car maker Volkswagen.
There have been other potential purchasers for Vauxhall/Opel, with the most likely being a Chinese company and that’s something the German government don’t want to see happen as Opel are a major employer and as such, are of key national interest and the last thing they want to happen is for Opel to fall into limbo as it did in 2009, or even worse, see its production move overseas.
Volkswagen is an extremely wealthy company with reserves of billions of Euro’s so they wouldn’t have to dig too deep to find the cash to pick up the ailing business from GM and who knows what pressure might be being placed on them to do a deal by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Apparently, senior people at Opel confirm that talks have been taking place, however officially, its “just speculation”.
GM had to axe brands such as Pontiac, Hummer & Saturn which are US brands that were employing American workers, so to hang on to something employing European workers may be unpopular in the US and of course, they have already unloaded their other European brand SAAB, so I don’t see them being all misty eyed about Opel and Vauxhall.
Clearly, the German government are anxious that Opel remains in Europe and keeps employing people, although I cant imagine they will be overly bothered about the Vauxhall staff in the UK and at this point, we haven’t heard anything from the UK coalition government as to if they are going to do anything to help Vauxhall in the UK, should it only be the German based operations that VW are interested in.
Let’s hope that both Opel and Vauxhall survive this and let’s all spare a thought for the people who work at both of these companies, as they’ve already undergone several years of uncertainty, and yet deserve better than that.