Mar 04

The carmaker wants £3billion from European governments to keep factories open, with Belgian and German plants most at risk

The European operations of General Motors will run out of cash within weeks unless they get government support, the American carmaker said yesterday, adding that a collapse would put up to 300,000 jobs at risk.

Fritz Henderson, the chief operating officer of GM, said that the division, which includes Opel in Germany and Vauxhall in Britain, would hit liquidity problems early in the second quarter.

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Nov 17

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany said on Monday it was ready to help General Motors’ struggling German unit Opel, though it would make sure any aid did not seep over to the U.S. parent or trigger a flood of demands for support.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet Opel representatives at 1530 GMT on Monday. Opel has asked the federal government and German states to help it through a financial rough patch that has been aggravated by troubles at its parent GM.

“I think the government will do everything that is necessary to help the company but on the other hand, it will of course respect the consequences with regard to dealing with other companies,” government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said.

“This cannot be about taking action that we would then not be able to maintain with regard to similar cases,” he added at a regular government news conference.

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Oct 12

For years, Germany Inc.’s best promotional vehicles have been the world-class luxury cars the country produces. Shiny Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars are like mobile billboards for excellence, from New York to Moscow, Buenos Aires to Shanghai.

But as the global financial crisis begins to take its toll on the real economy, Germany’s export machine has hit a wall. German exports fell 2.5% in August, the sharpest fall since 2003, as consumers and companies around the world cancel orders for everything from high-end industrial equipment to chemicals.

The car industry, still Germany’s biggest employer, is the worst hit. High gas prices in key markets such as the U.S. have slowed sales for months. Some consumers have been waiting for more fuel-efficient models, while many more are now delaying new purchases because of uncertainty over their jobs. Thanks to the credit crunch, even people who want to buy are finding finance has dried up.

All that spells trouble for the likes of BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, Ford Europe and General Motors’ Europe arm, Opel. Ferdinand Dudenhoffer, a respected industry analyst, predicts that the number of new German cars delivered to customers in 2008 will fall by at least 100,000 units to around 3.1 million, and will likely slip below three million next year. As a result, he says, German car companies will have to cut up to 20,000 jobs over the coming year.

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