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Drew Dowdell

From the Opel conference call today

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GM can go it alone with Opel if they have to

GM,%20Opel-logo.jpg

John Smith, GM Group Vice President, Corporate Planning and Alliances and Enrico Digirolamo, GM Europe Vice President and CFO, gave a news conference call today regarding the GM Board of Directors' decision to not sell Opel. Mr. Smith stated that GM's better financial status puts them in a position to be able to restructure Opel on their own if need be. GM is still going to work with the European governments and Unions on a restructuring plan, but the plan will be very similar to the private investor's plans that were all based on the GM Europe viability plan from earlier this year. The Opel Trust

GM feels that Opel is so well integrated into General Motors with regards to research, design, and development that it would be very difficult for GM to succeed globally if two thirds of Opel operations were sold off.

Unsurprisingly, the Opel decision was the largest decision that the new Board of Directors, which started work on August 1st of this year, has needed to tackle. Most members of the board were new to the automotive industry in general and wished to better educate themselves on the entirety of GM's and Opel's status prior to making a decision.

Mr. Smith stated that Opel sales are performing better than plan and GM has already begun to repay the bridge loan extended to them by the German government. There is still roughly 900€ million left outstanding. He also stated that GM could restructure that loan in it's entirety if the loan was called by the German government.

The reactions regarding this decision on Opel is not surprising, but the most important thing in any of the plans presented was to put Opel on a long term solid foundation. There may be disagreement on how to do that, but the end goal remains the same for all parties.

- By Drew Dowdell
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Putting Opel up for sale in the first place was a mistake, IMO. Now GM has to deal with repercussions.

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This is probably the right call, but German labor unions are very powerful. I wouldn't have a problem telling them to shove it and move the plants to cheaper countries, but in the meantime there could be a huge mess.

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being able to accelerate the burning of Saturn and Pontiac probably left them more able to address the Opel issues.

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This is probably the right call, but German labor unions are very powerful. I wouldn't have a problem telling them to shove it and move the plants to cheaper countries, but in the meantime there could be a huge mess.

Germans unlike us, want to buy their own brands. And the numbers they buy them in gives them enough clout to be able to say that they should be building what they sell.

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