Russia’s GAZ emerges as potential bidder for Opel


GAZ Group is Russia's largest automaker and is responsible for a range of cars, trucks, buses and powertrain assemblies

GAZ Group is Russia's largest automaker and is responsible for a range of cars, trucks, buses and powertrain assemblies

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Less than 24 hours after GM CEO Fritz Henderson announced that a new buyer for Opel would be picked by the end of this month, Russia’s GAZ Group has confirmed that it would be interested in creating a joint venture with Magna International and Opel. Magna, as previously reported, is competing with Fiat for GM’s European operations but is only seeking a minority share of about 20%.

Unlike Fiat and Magna, however, GAZ has substantial debts so its role in any takeover of Opel would be limited. In an official statement, GAZ said it would be responsible for manufacturing Opel passenger cars at its Nizhny Novgorod plant.

The Russian auto giant and Magna have collaborated in the past on similar projects, and together with GM’s European operations could potentially produce up to five million vehicles per year, reports Automotive News.

Standing in the way of Magna’s deal, however, is pressure from Fiat, which is seeking to integrate Opel into a new global auto giant consisting of a restructured Chrysler and Fiat’s respective auto units. Furthermore, GM reportedly favors a single bidder as opposed to a group - meaning Fiat's proposal would likely prove more attractive than a Magna/GAZ combo. Of course, GM must also consider not just the present, but also the future of Opel, especially since it will retain a substantial stake in the company.

 
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