General Motors has said the German factories of its subsidiary Opel are not for sale. That was in response to a surprise offer to buy the four plants and Opel’s research and development centre for one billion euros.
The offer came from a German firm, SolarWorld, one of the world’s largest solar energy equipment makers. The company said it would only proceed with a takeover if Opel were completely separated from GM, and the US parent company pays “compensation” of one billion euros.
Car industry experts dismissed it as “unrealistic,” “pretty crazy” and a “PR stunt” but the company’s boss Frank Asbeck insisted it was a serious offer. He said: “Opel has a very modern model policy – the fact that it got the 2008 “Car of the Year” award is telling – and it has a great capacity to become a truly green carmaker.”
Asbeck said the takeover offer was conditional on the German government granting Opel one billion euros in loan guarantees it asked for this week. Solarworld wants to use the carmaker’s plants to produce a new generation of energy-efficient, low-emissions vehicles. The idea did not sit well with its investors. The company’s shares fell as much as 19 percent at one stage.