In an investigation by Detroit News, a review of more than 100 messages from secret WikiLeaks cables between U.S. embassies and Washington unveils a cozy relationship between Detroit automakers and the government.
According to the documents, American diplomats stepped in on several occasions to help General Motors and Ford mediate issues abroad, including:
- Helping to settle a strike in November 2008 at a Ford-Mazda operation in Bangkok, Thailand
- Assisting GM in selling Chevys in Turkmenistan and Libya to avoid government-threatened closure
- Fighting Venezuela over import limits
The cables also show U.S. diplomats’ influence on GM’s flip-flop decision not to sell its ailing European unit, Adam Opel AG in May 2009.
Earlier that year, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing also became aware of China’s plans to derail manufacturing of GM’s Hummer, two weeks before the intended block became public.
In October 2009, a Swedish official informed the U.S. ambassador in Stockholm that the Chinese government was interested in buying 100 per cent of Volvo cars from Ford and up to 40 per cent from then-GM-owned Saab automaker.
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