GM Europe sale in crisis

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General Motors is considering keeping GM Europe rather than selling it.

This came after the German government pressed for Canadian auto parts maker Magna, backed by Russian state-owned lender Sberbank, while GM executives favour RHJ International to take over the GM European arm, which includes Germany’s Opel and the UK’s Vauxhall plants.

Meanwhile, Italian auto giant Fiat may launch a fresh push to buy GM Europe, a press report said yesterday.

Fiat is mulling over a new attempt to buy General Motors’ European arm, as rival bids now appear unworkable, La Repubblica said.

‘Fiat’s management refuses to comment on the case but it has not drawn a line under the matter,’ the daily said, citing a company source.

Fiat pulled out of the race to acquire GM Europe in May, leaving Magna and RHJ International as the main bidders.

According to La Repubblica, Fiat believes Magna’s plan is ‘fragile, since it mainly bets on Russia and certain eastern European markets, where sales have collapsed 50 per cent.’

The Italian car maker’s project, on the other hand, is ‘built on an industrial plan’, the newspaper said.

The German government has dropped its earlier opposition to GM selling Opel to RHJ, Bild newspaper reported yesterday.

Meanwhile, UK Business Secretary Mandelson has said there could be up to £500m available to any potential purchaser, an offer considered too little too late.