GM’s Whitacre not apologetic on how Opel situation was handled

General Motors Company Chairman Edward E. Whitacre, Jr

GM announced today that it had paid back another 200 million euros to the German government towards the bridge loan that it received back in June in order to save its European subsidiary Opel motors from bankruptcy, according to Automotive News. To date, GM has paid back 1.1 billion euros of the 1.5 billion euro loan.

There was another 4.5 billion euros offered to assist an Opel restructuring, but that offer is now doubtful considering that GM has decided to keep Opel as opposed to selling to Magna International Inc., as was originally planned.

GM CEO Fritz Henderson had apologized to Germany for the way the Opel deal was handled, and earlier today, the company also reaffirmed that it does in fact wish for state aid in order to overhaul Opel. This reaffirmation comes in response to GM chairman Ed Whitacre’s comments that Henderson’s apology was unnecessary, and that GM was financially healthy enough to go at restructuring without state aid.

“I don’t agree whatsoever with Henderson in that regard. The decision-making process may have been confusing for some, but we have nothing to be apologetic for,” Automotive News quotes Whitacre as saying.

“The restructuring of Opel for long-term sustainability requires involvement and financial support from all stakeholders, including employees and governments,” GM Europe said in a statement on Friday. This is a hot-button issue on the German political scene since GM reneged on its decision to off-load 55% of the company to Canadian company Magna International and its Russian partner, Sberbank. Opel currently employs 50,000 people, half of which work in Germany. The company also has plants in Britain, Spain, Belgium, and Poland.

– By: Stephen Calogera