Fiat and Austrian engineering group Magna have officially emerged as the main bidders aiming to take a major stake in Opel/Vauxhall.
After meeting with representatives of Magna, German economy minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said yesterday that both firms have presented draft proposals to acquire a large stake in Opel/Vauxhall.
Despite the fears of German government officials and workers’ unions, Fiat has said it will keep all Opel’s German plants open.
Fiat has also offered to build the Punto at Opel’s Eisenach plant, according to German paper Handlesblatt. The Punto shares its platform with the current Corsa, which is built at Eisenach.
Magna’s bid to purchase a 50 per cent Opel/Vauxhall would be a joint venture with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, owner of UK-based LDV vans. Magna would take a 20 per cent stake in Opel/Vauxhall, while Deripaska would take a 30 per cent holding.
Any investment in Opel/Vauxhall by Deripaska could be crucial for struggling LDV, which has until 6 May to find enough investment to prevent it from going into administration. The possibility of financial and R&D help from Opel/Vauxhall’s commercial vehicles arm could prevent that from happening.
Vauxhall refused to comment on the specifics of any deal. “We can't talk about potential investors,” said a spokesman. “We have people interested in both Opel and Vauxhall, but until we have something in writing we cannot talk about it.”