GM to sell 55% of Vauxhall and Opel to Magna; jobs pledge for UK
10 September 2009

General Motors has sold a 55 per cent stake in Vauxhall and Opel to Magna International and its Russian banking partner Sberbank.

GM will retain 35 per cent of the company, while the remaining ten per cent will be held by an Opel employee trust fund.

“The hard work over the past two weeks to clarify open issues and resolve details in the German financial package brought GM and its board of directors to recommend Magna/Sberbank,” GM CEO Fritz Henderson said in a statement.

He added that GM will “continue to closely collaborate with Opel and Vauxhall to develop and produce more great cars, such as the new Insignia and the new Astra."

UK business minister Pat McFadden said the government would continue talks on the future of the 4700 Vauxhall staff with the new owners.

"Our objective throughout has been to get the best possible outcome for the Vauxhall workforce and the production plants in the UK," McFadden said.

"We have been in close contact with all parties throughout, including GM in the US and Europe, and all the potential bidders."

He said Magna had given a commitment to continuing production at both Vauxhall's plants in Britain.

"We will now continue our discussions with Magna. They have told us of their commitment to continuing production at both Ellesmere Port and Luton and we will work to make sure we get the best possible outcome for the UK," he said.

Unite, the country's largest trade union, welcomed the end to the uncertainty over Vauxhall's future but said workers here must be treated fairly.

Britain has the third largest GM workforce in Europe after Germany and Spain.

"One of the alternatives could have been the unthinkable position of liquidation," said Unite's joint secretary, Tony Woodley.

"Nevertheless, with Magna as the new owner, we need to make sure that British plants and people are not treated disproportionately during the re-structuring that will take place."

However, the sale is said to have only been agreed if Magna can reach certain conditions, which have not been revealed. In addition, the deal must be approved by the relevant labour unions and the German government must agree a financing package.

It is unlikely Magna will know if it can meet these demands until after the German elections, which take place on 27 September.

GM signed an initial agreement in May to sell a majority stake in Opel to a Russian-backed consortium led by Magna.

But that deal fell apart as senior GM executives became increasing worried that Opel under Magna could transfer important technological expertise to the supplier's industrial partner GAZ, Russia's second-largest domestic carmaker and a rival to GM's successful Chevrolet brand in Russia.

Gm was also concerned at selling Opel's Russelsheim operations in Germany, where it has developed many of its cars for US sale.

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Comments
7

10 September 2009

For Mandy ..

I'm eely and oily,

Vauxhall's hot trottered toast.

Don't drive UK!

10 September 2009

That's sad news - selling Opel and the bulk of GM technology to the Russian state (don't be fooled by this Magna deal nonsesnse - the buyer is Russian state controlled Sbierbank) is hardly a wise move by Barrack Obama's government.

10 September 2009

I've just heard Tony Woodley on the radio. Every time he opens his mouth I just find myself wondering how a major union could end up with such a complete idiot in charge.

10 September 2009

[quote Chris576]

I've just heard Tony Woodley on the radio. Every time he opens his mouth I just find myself wondering how a major union could end up with such a complete idiot in charge.

[/quote]

no, you don't do Scouse Tony justice, he's the joint boss of UK's biggest Union, Unite. Agree, pitiful when the lesser graded Klaus Franz, Opel's Works Council leader, speaks perfect English and makes persuasive addresses on the airwaves for the people he represents. Woodley was also the clot who shot his mouth off about a major vehicle assembly plant being on the brink of closure with 5,000 jobs at stake, earlier this year. Turrns out he was talking about a tinpot outfit in Brum, owned by a Russian, employing a man and his dog, knocking out dodgy vans, once in a blue moon, The man's a twit.

By the way, didn't old Angie Merkel play a blinder. Got just what she wanted when everyone was saying she was a clown and was sunk - media arseholes, what do they know. Shame old Gordon Brown and boy wonder Mandelson are such jerks by comparison.

10 September 2009

A major union? Run by an idiot? Whatever next?

10 September 2009

[quote Johnnytheboy]A major union? Run by an idiot? Whatever next?[/quote]

A country run by an even bigger idiot, GB and Labour.

The worse thing about this sale is that the Russians have control now so in a few years once the tecno has been sent east Opel and Vauxhall will be shelved and sold on and we will be driving Lada Astras etc.

You just have to look at companies that have been taken over by Russian and Chinees,a few years down the line once they have picked the cherrys and set then up in there own countries they leave the crumbs and just walk away.

I do hope i am wrong and this is only my opinion.

11 September 2009

Well there it is! GM sold Opel/Vauxhall to Magna and the Russians!

Shame! Having spent the last 2 months in Russia I can tell you exactly what's planned (according to Russian media).

The Russian government wanted this deal to go through (with Deripaska, the man behind Gaz (Volga and Gazelle vans) and the failed LDV venture) so that the ailing Russian motor industry can get an easy kick start producing ready made and successful Opels with Volga badges. Making sense yet? Well, Gaz will be absorbing Opel and making badge engineered Opels for the Russian (etc) market.

According to Russian media this evening, the new Volga Siber is going to be shelved to make way for Russian built Opels! So it's happening already!
LIke with LDV, do you think Sperbank and Gaz will be keeping UK and German plants going whilst building them in Novgorod? Not very likely after 2013 according to most Russians! So, bye bye Vauxhall! Will it be missed? Well, from a jobs viewpoint I would think yes.

I hope I'm wrong, but I was really hoping GM wouldn't sell!

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