GM Delays Opel Sale, Angries Germany

Fed up with all the delaying GM chooses to do over the sale of its European unit Opel, German officials lashed out at the American manufacturer and US government alike yesterday. The most fierce comments came from Juergen Ruettgers, premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state and home to the Bochum works, who called GM’s behavior „intolerable.

"The United States government now shares responsibility for finding a way past GM's leadership weakness and helping us finally to reach a sustainable decision," he was quoted as saying by Autonews. Kurt Beck, SPD premier of Rhineland-Palatinate, another Opel state, said the delay is "completely unacceptable", while Roland Koch, conservative state premier of Hesse, where Opel is based, added that he is "extremely annoyed."

On the other hand, German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said he believes a deal over Opel is still possible, and talks between all the involved parties will continue.

German officials stepped in and criticized the delay, analysts think, because federal elections in the country are now less than a month away. Germany favors the bid made by Austrian-Canadian manufacturer Magna, while GM seems to have a soft spot for Belgium holding RHJ. GM apparently wants the same financial help for RHJ as Germany promised for Magna.

"There can only be state aid for a proposal that we in Germany find convincing," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the leader of SPD, chancellor’s Angela Merkel opponent said, pointing to his support for Magna.

Yet, a possible new outcome surfaced yesterday, as Bloomberg reported GM may also be considering rejecting both bids and continuing to operate Opel as a wholly owned subsidiary.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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