Germany and GM fail to reach a deal after first round of talks
23 July 2009

The German government and General Motors failed to agree on the best buyer for Opel/Vauxhall yesterday after talks in Germany.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany’s favoured bid is the one from Canadian parts supplier Magna, while GM is said to favour the bid from Belgian private equity firm RHJ International. Chinese manufacturer BAIC has also lodged a bid.

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GM has to get Germany's approval as the government is providing loan guarantees to the winning bidder.

“We have made clear that we view the Magna plan as sustainable in all respects,” Merkel said yesterday. She added that more talks would be needed before GM and Germany were ready to do a deal.

The Opel/Vauxhall decision is likely to have a key bearing on the upcoming German elections, so Merkel is keen to get the best possible deal to ensure German jobs are saved.

GM is said to prefer the deal from RHJ because it includes a buy-back clause at a later date.

Magna officials met with Opel dealerships yesterday and the dealers were impressed with Magna’s plans. “We were very impressed; Magna explained their idea to us openly and honestly. They managed to win us over as ambassadors for Magna,” said Albert Still, vice-chairman of the Euroda dealership association.

BAIC is said to still be in the race for Opel/Vauxhall but is lagging behind due to fears over the firm switching production to China.

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