Opel is the German subsidiary of GM and responsible for engineering important components in the popular Chevy Volt and Cruze as well as some Buicks and Cadillacs. Over the years, Opel has given GM critical design and technical expertise for small and medium sized cars. Given that GM’s recovery has, like the U.S. economy, stalled, there is some talk that they may want to sell Opel to Volkswagen to help with corporate growth.
Okay, so how does this relate to Korea? In two ways. First, it is believed that increased capabilities at GM Korea (the old Daewoo Motors) have made Opel somewhat expendable and two, the German press is alive with speculation that Hyundai is competing with VW to buy Opel. Germany’s premier automotive journal AUTO BILD says:
VW chief Martin Winterkorn “is scared of the Koreans as the biggest obstacle in Volkswagen’s way to #1,” writes AUTO BILD. Winterkorn himself had confirmed that the Koreans “are more brutal than the Japanese and attack everywhere in the world.”
More brutal than the Japanese? Interesting. Anyways, Opel does in fact have significant engineering talent, particularly in electric and hybrid technologies, things that Hyundai currently lacks. Personally, I don’t think Hyundai is too interested in buying Opel because I don’t think they are too excited with inheriting Opel’s union woes. I smell a ploy by VW to get GM to lower the price.