In a surprise move, GM's board of directors has decided to keep Opel. While details are scarce, the board believes Opel and Vauxhall are vital to the success of General Motors.

In a surprise move, GM's board of directors has decided to keep Opel. While details are scarce, the board believes Opel and Vauxhall are vital to the success of General Motors.

As you may recall, a 55% share of Opel was put up for sale shortly after GM went into bankruptcy. After months of review, GM announced Opel would be sold to a joint-venture lead by Magna International.

The decision to keep Opel likely caused a few curse words to spill out in Berlin, as the government had promised to provide 4.5 billion euros ($6.58 billion) worth of funding to Magna. According to a government spokesman, Ulrich Wilhelm, "The government regrets the decision of the General Motors board to restructure Opel itself and to keep it in the group." Several officials are now demanding that GM repay 1.5 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in bridge financing provided by German state banks.

Regardless, CEO Fritz Henderson stated "GM will soon present its restructuring plan to Germany and other governments and hopes for its favorable consideration. This was deemed to be the most stable and least costly approach for securing Opel/Vauxhall's long-term future." This likely means GM will be lobbying the German government for some of the money promised to Magna.

While Opel had been a critical partner for the ill-fated Saturn brand, GM is now positioning the company as a key player for Chevrolet and Buick. The upcoming Buick Regal and next-generation Chevrolet Malibu will be heavily based on the Opel Insignia, not to mention the recently nixed Vue-ick was basically a rebadged Opel Antara.

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