The General Motors-Opel saga continues to make political mileage in Germany.
On Friday, GM said it needed more time to decide who to sell Opel to. Some observers wonder if it will sell Opel at all. Meanwhile the German government, which faces an election next month, is throwing its weight and taxpayers’ money behind the bid from Magna, believing it would save more German jobs. Economy Minister Karl Theodor Zu Guttenburg said the government had done “everything it could” to cut a good deal for Germany, and that it was now “up to the Americans to react sensibly” to what Berlin had achieved. The party competing for votes with Zu Guttenburg’s CDU also favours the Magna bid. That has meant the SPD of Frank-Walter Steinmeier has had to attack Zu Guttenburg for not doing enough to push the Magna deal through and protect German jobs. When the political hot potato was passed to him on the campaign trail, Steinmeier insisted that the Magna bid is the only one that will save all four of Germany’s Opel sites and the most of the 25,000 jobs they provide. If Magna’s bid wins, Zu Guttenburg and Chancellor Angela Merkel can take the credit. If it doesn’t, their opponents could take advantage.