Fiat’s hopes of parking another car brand in its garage are facing competition, with a rival bidder entering the race. Fiat bosses will meet German political leaders on Monday to present their case for taking over General Motors Europe, which includes Opel and Britain’s Vauxhall.
“The German government has no particular view, we have an open mind. The firms must reach an agreement, and the government will not contribute to that,” said German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. Opel’s parent General Motors is struggling in the US and it may be tempted to sell some of its assets. But doubts have arisen over Fiat’s plan. Car industry watchers and unions believe the Italian firm’s lineup is too similar to Opel’s. “We have big problems with the Fiat bid,” said Rainer Einenkel, a member of Opel’s work council. “We know we make good cars and we want a future, but we are not sure that can happen with Fiat because they haven’t presented a credible plan so far.” Opel is now being wooed by Austrian components maker Magna Steyr Puch and a Russian consortium. The bid has the support of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who has business links in Russia. Magna supplies parts to Opel and other German car makers, and hasn’t ruled out moving into other parts of the business. The company recently underlined its credentials launching an all-electric concept car at the Geneva Motor Show.