General Motors on Thursday ended months of uncertainty, announcing it had reached a deal to sell a majority stake in its European unit Opel to Canadian car parts maker Magna, backed by Russia's Sberbank.

Below are some initial reactions from industry analysts:


It's a massive risk for Magna, but it will be German government funds, especially in the short- to medium-term that will run the business and keep it ticking over. But there's a big difference between being a tier 1 component manufacturer and being an OEM.


They have chosen the solution that is the most obvious, financially speaking. But on the other hand, it seems to me it wasn't their first choice. They didn't have any choice -- after the bankruptcy they couldn't do what they wanted.


Part of me aches for GM to see Opel go because of the sales volume that it represents, particularly in the compact and subcompact segments. As Ford, Toyota and VW are looking to scale globally that's going to be a little more difficult for GM now. When you start to look at this, you have to consider how they can be profitable now manufacturing a subcompact vehicle in the United States.

On the implications for Magna:

It's a bit of a sticky situation in that all of a sudden you have companies like Ford that are customers of Magna but that are also going to be competitors. And at the end of the day, Magna has to remove (manufacturing) capacity from Western Europe.


If true, this seems to be a political decision rather than an economic one. The most meaningful choice would have been a global company that produces several millions of cars (per year), such as GM or a Chinese producer. Magna is not a producer of cars in the classic sense and I could imagine that some other producers could be upset about the decision. As a consequence, Opel may lose some contracts.


This is an industry that is burdened with excess capacity and we've just passed through one of the best opportunities in over a decade to see real capacity taken out of the industry.

However, governments have got involved because it's a politically sensitive sector and we're coming through the other side of the downturn with the same number of companies, maybe more, and the same number of brands.


A decision to sell Opel to Magna makes sense in my view, simply because the German government will then likely make available further funding. However, it really depends on what GM's conditions will be.


It's not really a surprise. Despite some of the protestations and GM's indications that they might want to keep the business, everyone still thought ultimately it would go to Magna. It'll be interesting to see what Magna does with the business in terms of how fast it reduces Opel capacity.

This doesn't really change the dynamics of the European marketplace that much. Opel is still there with the same facilities, and for a long time it will have the same products although longer-term it'll change as they grow into Russia.

In the long term I'm not sure what Magna brings in terms of car manufacturing expertise -- it doesn't basically. This is a huge challenge for them. It's a long road back to profitability and it's going to take a lot of cash and a lot of time.