General Motors is already feeling the backlash of its decision not to sell European automaker Opel to Magna International as expected, as workers in Germany went on strike.
GM has yet to even present its restructuring plan, but the company faces not just ire over American-European cultural differences, but worker unease at job security, European-style.
Protestors carried banners reading "GM - Go Away!" and "Hands off Opel!" while on stage speakers accused GM of bad management and of betrayal. Workers in the German town of Russelsheim wore notices saying "freedom for the slaves of GM."
This is a "long-entrenched story of misunderstandings," Christoph Stürmer, director of product development at IHS Global Insight, told CNBC.com.
"For years, Opel workers had the impression the American management didn't understand what it meant to make products for the European market," Stürmer said.
Opel employees felt there was no European identity and no sense of unity amid the carmakers' plants in various countries on the continent, he said. And the big hope was that a deal with Canadian parts maker Magna would bring just that.
"The big hope that especially German, Belgian and Spanish employees had was that, when cut off from GM, they would become a unified European manufacturer," Stürmer explained.