Opel’s new owners are Canadian-Austrian car parts group Magna.
The landmark deal to save the General Motors subsidiary from its American parent’s imminent bankruptcy was agreed in the early hours of the morning. The package includes one and a half billion euros in bridge financing from the German government. Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier said: “Of course nobody can exclude the risks but I think we have found a responsible solution with private investors and interim funding from the state. It is a solution which preserves Opel’s locations in Germany and also preserves the highest possible number of jobs.” Around half of GM Europe’s 50,000 workforce resides in Germany, and there was a note of optimism in the air following news of the agreement with Magna. “Good, it’ll continue. Nothing is saved yet. Now it depends on how far the customers like our vehicles,” said one employee. “Well, we have to see what will be the result in terms of job cuts, how they restructure Opel. Who is going to pay for this? It’ll certainly be us, but the most important thing is that it carries on,” said another. Magna, backed by Russian’s Sperbank and oligarch Oleg Deripaska has pledged to put at least 500 million euros into Opel. However, it also said it would cut 2,500 jobs in Germany — about a tenth of Opel’s workforce there — before the deal was reached.