General Motors is willing to give up as much 50 per cent of its stake in Opel if it helps its subsidiary to agree a rescue deal with the German government.
Opel needs €3.3bn (£2.9bn) in aid and loans to stay in business, according to company boss Carl-Peter Forster. Reports say that Opel is talking to the Spanish and UK governments, as well as the German Federal government, about aid.
Opel’s management has concluded that it needs to become semi-detached from GM in order to convince EU governments to underwrite bailout loans.
GM has owned Opel since 1929 but reports suggest that if the firm does become semi-independent, it may have to start paying license fees to GM for the use of the new Epsilon 2 and Delta platforms, as well as engine technology.
Opel says it can begin repaying the loans by 2014, after returning to profitability in 2011. The company cannot survive without funds from owner General Motors, but these have come to a halt as the US giant struggles to stay solvent. American government loans to GM cannot be used to prop up its overseas operations.