According to a report by Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Fiat SpA is interested in buying GM’s Opel division. Apparently, Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne wishes to buy Opel at a “symbolic price” should the alliance between General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen falters.
But The General isn’t having it — and seems to be behind Opel all the way:
“Opel is not for sale,” said chief of GM’s European operations Steven Girsky. “GM fully stands behind Opel. Opel is a fully integrated part of GM’s global footprint and vital for GM’s future success in Europe.”
General Motors has been hard at work in bringing its European operations into the black after more than a decade of losses. In fact, since 1999, the automaker’s European unit lost $16.8 billion.
Opel, which is slashing the work days of certain employees in light of the European debt crisis that has suppressed the demand for cars, announced a partnership with French automaker Peugeot to cut costs and realize greater economies of scale in February. According to some reports, the alliance will also expand outside of Europe, such as to Brazil. Meanwhile, rumors propagate that General Motors has commissioned studies to research the strength of the brand in certain European markets, possibly to entirely replace the brand with another one.
The GM Authority Take
GM seems to be standing firmly behind Opel in bringing it to eventual profitability. Whether this is possible with the Peugeot alliance alone, or in conjunction with the closure of certain manufacturing facilities, remains to be seen. Unfortunately the losses of the European operations continue to be a thorn in The General’s side, a circumstance that more than likely is limiting GM’s stock price, thereby delaying the sele of remaining shares owned by the U.S. Treasury.
But we wonder whether a Fiat-owned Opel would result in bringing the storied German brand Stateside.