Fiat frontrunner to acquire GM marques

Fiat and Canadian car parts company, Magna International, have emerged at the lead contenders to acquire a major stake in General Motors’s Vauxhall and Opel marques.

Several reports have emerged that Fiat is in talks to acquire a stake of GM’s European operation, much of which is made up of Opel in Germany.

Fiat chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, is also working on creating an alliance with Chrysler, with the latter facing the prospect of bankruptcy if it is not able to seal a deal by April 30.

In the UK, Vauxhall was one of the top 20 spenders in advertising in 2007, according to Nielsen Media Research data. It spent £56.49m, which was 7% lower than 2006.

GM employs 5,000 staf at Vauxhall plants at Luton and Ellesmere Port in Merseyside.

GM, which is carrying $13.4bn (£9.1bn) in US loans, is rushing to come up with a restructuring plan by June 1 to avoid facing bankruptcy. The plan could see the closure of plants and the scrapping of models. It will aim to lower the level of sales required to make a profit.

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