Like the Renaissance Center mothership, GM's European subsidiary Opel is also in a heap of trouble. The company has said it needs €3.3 billion ($4.1B) to survive.

Most of that money would have to come from the German state. That means Chancellor Angela Merkel is not pleased. According to a report by the paper Rheinische Post, she stated Opel was not “system-critical,” as opposed to some financial institutions, which are.

Apart from the company’s cry for help, GM COO Fritz Henderson has announced the company is looking to spin Opel off into an independent division, ending majority US ownership after 70 years.

Opel employs almost half of General Motors Europe’s 55,600 workers. When you consider the entire industry around the operation, its failure would threaten close to half a million jobs.

And if you were wondering, yes, imagining a German politican saying the words “system critical” in accented English is exactly as wickedly funny in Europe as it is in English-speaking countries.


Yet your Crazy Euro Car Boy says this with a pang of pain in his heart. He has ridden more miles—ahem, kilometers!—in an Opel Astra sedan than in any other car.

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