GM Europe bidder Magna outlines plans to produce 'open platforms'
18 May 2009

General Motors European arm could become a contract manufacturer under plans being outlined by one of the potential bidders.

Canadian component giant Magna International says that it wants to create ‘open platforms’ – probably using the Insignia’s Epsilon II underpinnings and the new Astra’s Delta chassis – which can be used by other car makers.

By building a number of different cars on the same production lines, all the manufacturers involved would make considerable savings on engineering their own, otherwise unique, platforms.

Proponents of the scheme say that today’s Astra class vehicles are so close in basic concept, that differentiation in design and styling is more important than investing in unique engineering.

Some European carmakers have already expressed interest in the idea, according to news reports. However, there are also reports that Magna's plans would see GM’s Vauxhall plants being closed.

Magna International is bidding for Opel/Vauxhall with Russian carmaker Gaz and Russian bank Sberbank. The company already engineers and builds whole vehicles at its Graz facility in Austria.

It currently builds the BMW X1 and Saab 9-3 cabrio and is about to begin producing the five-door Mini Crossover.

Reports in Germany say that the final two bidders for GME are Fiat – which wants to create a global mega-merger with Chrysler – and Magna. The bid proposals have to be placed by this Wednesday.

If General Motors goes into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection before Opel is sold, the German government is preparing a trust arrangement to keep the company running ahead of a sale.

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A German government delegation could travel to the US later this week to discuss Opel’s fate with owners GM.

Hilton Holloway

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