August 26, 2009

Mandelson would support GM investment

British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson is willing to sink public funds into General Motors to ensure the survival of its Vauxhall subsidiary, sources say.

Without naming its sources, The Times of London reported Wednesday Mandelson would look favorably on committing British taxpayer funds to GM if it appeared Vauxhall would be best off if the reconstituted U.S. automaker kept its European subsidiary instead of seeking a buyer.

The Times said Mandelson's position became evident as GM's 13 member board of directors reportedly struggled with internal dissent on whether to sell the company's other European subsidiary, the struggling German automaker Opel. The newspaper said the disagreement was among board members who have been appointed since the U.S. government bailout of the automaker and those who remain from before.

Sources told the newspaper the newer board members favor selling off the subsidiaries while the others fear that Opel could compete against its former parent.

Mandelson is determined to ensure that only the owner who commits to a long-term plan to preserve Vauxhall's workforce will receive taxpayer funds, The Times reported.