Fiat and Magna are still working with the German government on the takeover of Opel from General Motors' European operations, but Fiat is already being forced to quell concerns that it might shut down European Fiat plants if it does acquire Opel. Today Italian Industry Minister Claudio Scajola made it clear that Fiat has no such plans.

A majority stake of Opel is up for sale due to GM's need for cash and Opel's need for assistance. Magna is thought to be seeking only a minority stake, while Fiat is expected to go after a controlling interest. Plans from both Fiat and Magna will go before the German government on Wednesday, May 20.

Today's announcement by Scajola was intended to help settle protests over Fiat's possible abandonment of workers and plants in its home country, reports the Detroit Free Press.

"Marchionne has always said and maintained, also in recent days, that closures in Italy are not foreseen," Scajola told the Milan daily Corriere della Sera. "The strategy would be to aggregate around Turin (both) Chrysler and Opel to create the second-largest group in the world, with the greatest volumes and most evolved products. I would be more concerned if Fiat would have remained still, or if it had been Opel to buy it."

The protests involved thousands of workers in Fiat's home base of Turin over the weekend.

In the U.S., things are actually moving the other way, with three Chrysler plants under consideration for retooling as Fiat production facilities.