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Opel in “worst case” talks with German government


General Motors’ German arm, Opel, says it’s satisfied with the outcome of a meeting with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and senior ministers to discuss possible government guarantees in the face of the world economic downturn and GM’s financial crisis

In a statement, Opel says the talks were “conducted in a very constructive and open atmosphere. (We are) therefore reassured that the request was listened to seriously and will be so considered.”

Opel president and General Motors Europe boss, Carl-Peter Forster, says the talks were requested to discuss a “worst-case scenario that financial flows from the US no longer would be possible.”

“Opel does not have a short-term liquidity problem,” Forster says. But should General Motors’ financial problems worsen and the money flow dry up, “it would then be necessary to secure the competitiveness of Opel.

“In this case, a government guarantee could be a solution. We are not talking about subsidies, rather a protective umbrella of available liquidity in the worst case.”

Forster says Opel management feels “duty-bound to work toward the goal of securing the future of this traditional brand.

“This is particularly important for the future of great automobiles: On the very day of the chancellery talks, the new Opel Insignia was awarded Car of the Year 2009 by expert motoring journalists.”

Opel’s Astra is sold in New Zealand under the Holden brand. The previous model Barina and the now-defunct Vectra were also Opel-developed models.

Holden’s small to medium-sized cars, the Barina, Viva and Epica, are now provided by Korean subsidiary GM Daewoo with added engineering and styling input from Holden and GM Europe.

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