Germans against offering aid to GM-owned Opel
After last week’s shock decision by General Motors to hold onto Opel rather than selling it to the Canadian company Magna, a new poll shows that a clear majority of Germans against offering aid to the company if it asks for state aid.
If General Motors asks the German government to offer loan guarantees to finance its planned €3 billion overhaul of the iconic carmaker, 66 percent of respondents to the poll, sponsored by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, said they were against such aid. Just 28 percent said they favoured assistance.
GM is highly likely to ask Germany, as well as other European countries where Opel facilities are located, to help pay for the company’s reinvention, though the political winds in Germany in particular are blowing against it.
When news of GM’s decision broke last week, the newly sworn-in Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle said the move was “totally unacceptable” and has since said he is sceptical that Germany will offer additional assistance.
Opel is currently operating in a trusteeship set up by the German government in spring to help facilitate a quick sale to another company. The government also extended a €1.5 billion line of credit to keep the company solvent through the process.
Brüderle and many other German politicians have demanded that GM repay the credit - initially due to be repaid by the end of November - immediately now that it has decided to hold onto Opel.
GM’s restructuring plans are said to be similar to the one put forward by Magna and will entail approximately 10,000 layoffs throughout Europe out of a workforce of approximately 50,000. Unlike the Magna plan, which to satisfy the German government proposed closing none of Opel’s German facilities, GM is thought to plan the closure of at least one German site.