Fiat Begins Talks With GM While Courting Chrysler

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2009 9:25 PM CDT
A man looks at an Opel car in front of a Fiat flag at a car retailer in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
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(Newser) – Fiat is bound and determined to join the big boys of the auto world, and it's using ailing US companies to gain a foothold. The Italian automaker has begun surprise talks with General Motors to buy a stake in GM's Opel division and expand its presence in Europe and Latin America, the Wall Street Journal reports. Fiat is simultaneously trying to buy a 20% stake in Chrysler, now teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

"We're open to dialogue, and we have dialogue with a number of auto companies around the world," said Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat. The company hopes to triple its production to about 6 million cars per year. If Fiat added both Chrysler and Opel to its lineup, it would rank behind only Toyota and GM among world automakers, the New York Times notes.