Car maker insists less than 10,000 jobs will be lost if it buys Fiat/Opel
22 May 2009

Fiat has said it plans to cut less than 10,000 jobs if it succeeds in buying Opel and Vauxhall from General Motors.

Fiat said the cuts would be made across Opel's Europe-wide operations, which currently employ about 50,000 workers.

Fiat added in its statement that reports it planned to cut up to 18,000 jobs in Germany, where Opel employs 25,000 people, were "entirely unfounded".

However, Fiat's bid is reported to be struggling to persuade GM bosses and the German government that its bid for Opel/Vauxhall is the strongest.

Canadian firm Magna and Belgium's RHJ International are the rival bidders, with the former winning considerable support from labour leaders and German politicians for saying that it will keep all four of Opel's plants in germany open.

"Under our concept the German sites are seen as assets and we want to keep as many jobs as possible," said Magna co-chief executive Siegfried Wolf.

Roland Koch, the premier of Opel's home state of Hesse, said the Magna offer was "closest to the hopes and wishes" of German politicians and the country's Opel workers.

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The German government could announce its preferred bidder as early as next week, with GM eager to sell off Opel/Vauxhall ahead of its 1 June US government deadline to restructure its finances and avoid the need to go into bankruptcy protection.

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