Russian GAZ company – producer of Volga cars – states they will be ready to produce Opel cars in six to nine months, using their plant in Nijni Novgorod city, AFP informs. The Russian press reacted differently to the news.
GAZ produces outdated Volgas at the Nijni Novgorod plant, 440 km away from Moscow. Billionaire Deripaska’s company says that GAZ will have made all the necessary technical improvements to produce Opel in maximum nine months’ time, should the new Opel-Magna-Sberbank consortium decide to use the factory.
A plan for saving Opel has been decided on Friday, but Canadian company Magna was in the limelight, despite owning only 20% of the Opel shares. GM will keep its 35%.The staff will own 10%. The Russian bank Sberbank will own 35%. Thus, the Russian press debated on the subject: "The Russian Opel" or "Opel turned into Volga".
"Never did a Russian company own this type of shares in Occident", Vremia Novosti reads. "It isn’t the Red Army!" the newspaper mocks the Westerners’ reticence when it comes to the Russian companies breaking into the share market of important Occidental groups. The publication notes that the current crisis had made things possible that otherwise would have never happened.
"Opel’s plan for emerging from the crisis is not even nearly clear", Nezavissimaia Gazeta informs. Magna is pulling the strings and the Russians lack the guarantee that the much awaited technological transfers will happen, the newspaper noted that.
Kommersant reads that the Germans want to own 20% of the Russian market, against the 3% they currently have. Opel production is aimed at 180.000 cars annually, figures considered by the paper to have "very little to do with reality".
The press read that Magna intends to fire 2.500 staff in Germany, meaning one tenth of its workforce, while Fiat’s plan was to let 10.000 people go.
The Opel affair gave birth to another scenario: Magna could join the company that will buy the GM’s Saturn brand and could produce these cars in USA or Canada. Saturn is Opel’s American sister and GM will start producing these cars until 2011 at the latest.