Fiat Aims for GM's Opel to Forge Huge Carmaker

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2009 8:00 PM CDT
In this file photo taken Friday March 27, 2009, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne reacts during a press conference following a shareholders' meeting, in Turin, Italy.   (AP Photo/Massimo Pinca, File)
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(Newser) – Already partnered with Chrysler, Fiat is intensifying its pursuit of GM's German Opel unit to forge one of the world's biggest car companies, the Wall Street Journal reports. Fiat's CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to meet tomorrow with German officials seeking an investor as GM restructures. Billions in debt, Fiat needs aid to complete the deal but could swap technology as it did with Chrysler.

Germany can't afford to let Opel, one of its biggest private sector employers, simply go out of business. But Marchionne still faces hurdles. Rival bidders such as Canada's Magna International may compete with him. And German and Italian unions are resisting the merger, fearing that job overlaps between Fiat and Opel will force massive layoffs. Marchionne has said he prefers to cut back at plants rather than shut them down entirely.