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The Great GM Saga

So – who’d have thought it? After six months of complex negotiations, endless motoring media speculation and a new owner poised to take the reins, General Motors (GM) has pulled the plug on the sale of its two European subsidiaries, Vauxhall and German carmaker Opel.

Instead, the two firms, makers of petrol and diesel vehicles familiar across the continent, will undergo an extensive restructuring in an effort to drastically cut operating costs. Inevitably this will lead to job losses – perhaps as many as 10,000.

Reactions to this prospect have been mixed. While UK unions have been sanguine, German Opel workers have staged a series of protest strikes, fearing that whole plants will now close. Their bitterness is understandable – they had, after all, reached a job-saving agreement with Magna International, the Canadian auto parts manufacturer which had been set to take over before the GM board so abruptly changed its mind.

So what comes next? Time will tell, but something tells us we haven’t yet reached the last chapter of one of 2009’s strangest motoring stories.


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