Thursday, November 27, 2008

Opel management and German politics read auto-future

This auto-future blog, more precisely. And why? Because our 1st April joke of 2008 was an article about Ford of Europe (FoE) declaring independence. Writing that was great fun and little I knew that some weeks later the smart CEO of global Ford would decide that FoE would be in charge of the development of some future global cars from the Blue Oval, including the next generation Focus and Mondeo/Fusion. So FoE did not declare independence but instead it kind of made a takeover at global Ford.

Back to Opel it was surprising and amusing (NOT) to see that the management of the European branch of GM and some German politics are considering the separation of Opel from GM, just in case some giant collapse of GM occurs… just in case! So they must have had this idea from reading auto-future, the idea that a profitable European branch would declare independence from its giant and aching American owner. Things are not that simple because someone would actually have to buy the company from GM, either the government or some manufacturer or other company. And the money its worth could really help GM… for about 2 to 3 months.

Anyway, who could buy Opel? Other than the German government I think BMW could gain a lot from buying Opel for cheap. Everyone knows that BMW is very worried about its new giant neighbour that is Porsche with its new toys (VW-Audi-Seat-etc.). And that BMW is actively searching for volume through cooperation with other manufacturers, including Daimler. Opel would provide the right amount of mainstream volume with plenty of opportunities for future synergies, if properly executed. Of course, BMW should be afraid of such adventure because of the Rover fiasco. But I assure you, Opel it’s much different from Rover. It has actual development and technical muscle, and it is today a profitable company. At the time BMW acquired Rover the main cars of the British company were already developed by Honda. But Opel has technical merits on its own and fits nicely in BMW’s German culture.

But then this is just speculation. After all, the recent cancellation of the luxurious 4-seat coupe previewed by the concept CS shows that the current BMW management are acting, how should I say it,… like a bunch of pussies.

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