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SolarWorld Throws GM a Bone

By Jeff Siegel | Thursday, November 20th, 2008

You know times have changed when a German solar company is offering to throw General Motors a bone, and shell out $1.26 billion for one of its subsidiaries.

German solar powerhouse SolarWorld (FRA:SWV) issued a press release yesterday, stating that the company plans to bid on four German production facilities and Opel’s Ruesselsheim development center and headquarters. (Opel is a German automaker that was acquired by GM in 1929, and continues to operate as a subsidiary.)

SolarWorld wants to make this Europe’s first true “green” auto company.

Here’s what SolarWorld representatives had to say about their plans:

With the restructuring of the product pallet, the traditional German auto builder would offer in future especially electric and hybrid automobiles and the newest technology combining extended-range electric and combustion motors highly efficiently.”

Had GM just gone this route a decade ago, the company would likely be able to weather today’s market meltdown. Even with all those costs attributed to higher wages (in comparison to their Japanese counterparts) and bloated benefits packages the company had to contend with, they still would’ve had cars to sell – instead of trucks and SUVs sitting on dealership lots, collecting dust.

But instead, the overpaid suits in Detroit sat in their boardrooms, forcing gas guzzlers down our throats, refusing to offer vehicles with better fuel economy. And now they have the stones to ask the taxpayers to shell out $25 billion so they don’t go under.

If we truly believe that a free market should dictate winners and losers, than clearly, letting them fail should only be seen as nothing more than survival of the fittest. However, if the US automakers do fail, then we’re looking at massive economic devastation, and the loss of roughly 1.4 million jobs. With unemployment already at 6.5 percent, this doesn’t help matters.

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