The struggling car-maker Opel is to hold survival talks with the German government later today, as its parent company General Motors warns of impending bankruptcy. GM has begged Washington for more money to keep it afloat; if it fails in America, its subsidiaries in Europe will face a bleak future.
GM has four Opel factories in Germany and also owns Vauxhall in Britain – two plants there are also under threat. There are fears of thousands of job losses among car workers, with the fallout affecting component suppliers as well. Governments face an impossible decision: either pump in more public money, despite collapsing car sales, or watch failing companies force more workers onto the dole queues.