Driving forward with his plans to merge Fiat and Opel, the Italian carmaker’s boss Sergio Marchionne has been trying to persuade the main German engineering union that it is the best thing for their member’s futures.
A 90 minute meeting at the union headquarters in Frankfurt left the Germans sceptical. The head of the IG Metall union Berthold Huber expressed concerns about corporate culture differences between Fiat and Opel and the overlap in their products and plants. He told reporters: “What matters to us is to secure jobs and sites in Germany and all over Europe.” He added: “In any event, we need a clear decision now. We cannot just remain in this terrible state of wait and see. There comes a moment when one needs to settle on something.” The meeting came one day before the German government deadline Wednesday for bids to invest in or acquire the Europe operations of General Motors including Vauxhall in Britain. As well as Fiat the Austrian-Canadian car parts maker Magna is also considering a stake. As are Opel and Vauxhall dealers in Europe and reportedly US investment firm Ripplewood. Sergio Marchionne has said Fiat’s bid for Opel would not be in cash because the assets he is offering are worth much more.