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 |  Apr 28 2009, 11:30 AM

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Only yesterday it seemed as though Italian car maker Fiat was likely to purchase GM’s European Opel brand, but now a new player has emerged. Magna International, the Austrian-Canadian parts supplier to OEMs like Chrysler, Ford and Mercedes has “announced” plans to purchase a controlling share in Opel.

The news didn’t come from Magna, however, but from a politician in Germany. Kurt Beck, the state premier of Rhineland-Palatinate, one of the German states where Opel builds its cars, announced that Magna wants to acquire a 20 percent stake in Opel directly. 

A spokesman for Beck said that Magna is also looking into other options to gain an even larger share of Opel. This could include, as reported in Canadian newspaper  The Globe and Mail, a deal with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska that would see the two partners purchase as much as 50 percent of Opel.

A Magna spokesman would not comment on the news.

General Motors is eager to part with Opel as it needs to sell off much of the company in order to secure $3.4 billion in loans from the German government. Currently Fiat is the only other strong contender for Opel.

General Motors is also looking to find a buyer for it’s British Vauxhall brand, however, no major bidders have emerged.

[Source: Automotive News]