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GM: Opel spinoff won't end product partnership

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GM: Opel spinoff won't end product partnership

Dave Guilford

Automotive News

March 2, 2009

General Motors vows that its tightly knit product development partnership with Adam Opel AG will continue, despite GM's plans to sell a minority stake in the German automaker.

"Opel remains an integral and important part of GM's global operations and will continue as such in the future," GM said in a statement Friday, Feb. 27.

Teams in Germany have produced GM's global compact and mid-sized vehicle platforms. The Buick LaCrosse coming this summer is the first U.S. vehicle built on the new mid-sized platform. The Chevrolet Cruze, due in mid-2010, will be built on the compact platform.

But the final structure of the Opel spinoff is far from certain. GM said it "remains open to discussions on partnerships, equity positions or other alignments that will strengthen the relative position of Opel/GM."

"Discussions are just really beginning in earnest," a GM spokesman said Friday.

GM created the spinoff plan in an attempt to win financial aid for Opel from several European governments. GM requested 3.3 billion euros (about $4.21 billion) to remedy a cash crisis at Opel but faced resistance because Opel is a subsidiary of a U.S. company.

GM Europe plans to form a joint-stock company for Opel and British sister brand Vauxhall. GM Europe President Carl-Peter Forster told a news conference Friday that the new company will remain linked to GM while letting outside investors take a stake of more than 25 percent.

GM has owned Opel since 1929.

John Revill contributed to this report

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