Management at the German car-maker Opel are looking to break away from General Motors, ending 80 years of ownership, to survive the global financial crisis. Directors of the German firm emerged from crisis talks saying Opel has to become a business apart from the Detroit giant, itself in dire trouble. The directors reckon that the European venture would need a 3.3 billion euro bailout to survive.
The President of GM Europe Carl Peter Forster said: “We think it is right for Opel in Europe to stay within the GM framework, to have access to technologies – but in a legal form which is clearly more independent than is the case today.” The mother ship – General Motors in Detroit – is teetering on the brink. Management there say the company needs nearly 25 billion euros in US government handouts to stay afloat. Trade unions in Germany say Opel is not the disaster, GM is the disaster. Union representative on the supervisory board Klaus Franz said: “With this new concept, the possibility has been created for traders, employees and other investors to buy shares in the new Opel.” There has been suspicion among German officials that with Opel wholly owned by GM, any government aid would simply be swallowed up by Detroit’s debt. The rescue plan is due to be presented to the government on Monday.