Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fiat Said to Study Use of Designs From GM’s Opel for Chrysler

May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Fiat SpA may use designs or technology from General Motors Corp.’s Opel in future Chrysler LLC models as part of a global auto alliance, people familiar with the discussions said.

The talks involve folding GM and Fiat’s European and Latin American operations into a new company, said the people, who asked not to be identified because details aren’t public. GM wants 40 percent of the new company, while Turin, Italy-based Fiat’s preference is to give 30 percent, two people said.

Adapting Opel designs for Chrysler vehicles would form a tight link between GM and the Fiat-Chrysler venture, spreading costs among more models to save money. Global sales for GM, Fiat and Chrysler were about 12.4 million in 2008, topping the 8.97 million of Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automaker.

GM needs a partner to run Germany’s Opel, maker of the compact Astra and midsize Insignia sedan, before June 1 to keep the unit from running out of cash. June 1 is also the deadline by which Detroit-based GM may file for bankruptcy in the U.S.

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