GM reportedly to keep Opel for fear of Russians
Published on: 05 Sep 2009 10:05 CET
The daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reports on Saturday that the board of directors is expected to announce the decision to hold onto Opel on Tuesday.
This is supposedly due to fears that the technology owned by the firm could end up in the hands of Russian carmakers and be used to produce strong competitors to GM cars.
The German government has been heavily involved in negotiations between GM and potential buyers, with both Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice Chancellor Frank-Walter Steinmeier pushing for Opel to be sold to a consortium around Austrian-Canadian car parts maker Magna.
This consortium also includes Russian carmaker Gaz and the state-owned Sberbank. The Russians have remained in the background during negotiations with the German government, according to observers, and were completely absent at the deciding discussion held in the Chancellery at the end of May.
Magna is one of the biggest car part manufacturers in the world, whose large shareholders has long included Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
General Motors was financially rescued three months ago and now is majority owned by the US government. The car firm is said to be recovering faster than had been expected.
This could enable it to hang onto Opel – which owns good technology for small and mid-sized cars. Now there is even talk of a billion-dollar investment in Opel to exploit this technology to build cars for the future market.