US Task Force "Completely" Surprised by GM's Opel Decision

General Motors announced a few weeks ago that it will scrap plans to sell Opel to Magna International and will keep the brand, with the restructuring process to be done under its ownership. The announcement angered Germany who strongly criticized GM's decision after months of negotiations with Magna and Opel unions, saying that GM might be left with no financial support in its attempt to shake-up the brand.

On the other hand, representatives of the United States said they had absolutely no idea of what GM plans to do and the decision came as a surprise to them as well. However, this does nothing that to emphasize the independence of GM's board, in spite of the share currently held by the government, Rob Bloom, who heads the US task force, said in a statement.

"We were completely surprised. Our anticipation was that it was going to be approved," Bloom said in an interview with Reuters. "But the board of directors is an independent board of men and women who take their own decision. They made their own decision and we're not going to try to get them to change it. I guess we could have said something. We absolutely did not."

Curiously, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who repeatedly backed Magna International and expected to see Opel purchased by the Canadian - Austrian partsmaker, visited the US one day before GM made the announcement. Even if she met with Barack Obama and other US officials, she didn't find out about GM's plans to keep Opel, a fact that, according to Bloom, supports the idea that GM's decision was completely independent.

"Our friends in Germany were upset and we were most assuredly not glad they were upset," Bloom said. "We value this relationship hugely. We would not sneak up on you with this ever. But we got snuck up on with this. And that's what happens when you have an independent board that makes up their own mind."

"In a perfect world, I would have known about it in advance. But you can't know about it in advance because it's a decision that happens in the board room. So by definition, I couldn't know."
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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