The struggling auto industry is feeling the pressure of slow sales and a tough global economy in many markets. Rumors of bankruptcy and pleas for government aid are the norm - but in Germany today a solar power group called SolarWorld surprised the market by making a takeover bid for Opel, General Motors' German-market arm.

The bid of $1.26 billion (€1 billion) was premised on the concept of creating the "first green European automotive group." The man behind SolarWorld's decision, Frank Asbeck, told the AFP, ""I could not be more serious. We would not make this offer otherwise."

Industry pundits were not only taken by surprise - some are still in a state of disbelief. IHS Global Insight analyst Christophe Stuermer put it simply, saying, "This is nonsense." The offer is based around $315 million (€250 million) in cash and $945 million (€750 million) in bank credit, plus several conditions to the deal, including a complete split of Opel from GM, plus compensation of $50,400 (€40,000) per Opel worker, amounting to about the same total as the $1.26 billion bid offer.

SolarWorld would ostensibly use Opel's infrastructure to build "a new generation of vehicles with energy-efficient, low-emission [powertrains] in the future," on top of the models currently built by Opel. Unfortunately for SolarWorld, however, the $1.26 billion offer is a massive low-ball offer - Opel's assets are estmated at about $10 billion (€8 billion).