Fiat Not Interested in GM's Opel Unit

The CEO of Italy's Fiat SpA, Sergio Marchionne, said earlier today that his company was going to scrap its five-year plan running through 2014, calling it "nonsense because the market won't be there." Now he's saying that the Italian firm has no interest in an alliance with the Opel unit of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM).

MarketWatch cites a report in an Italian newspaper in which Marchionne says, "In 2008 we were interested in an alliance with Opel, it was a perfect project for those years (but) it's in the past and it doesn't reflect the future." Fiat is also uninterested in any kind of deal with France's PSA Peugeot-Citroen.

Marchionne's denial of any interest in GM's money-losing Opel unit should be no big surprise. Car sales in Europe have tanked, and forging a deal with Opel would very likely cause a riot in the company's board room.

Fiat needs to concentrate on selling its Chrysler cars in the United States, just about the only place on earth where car sales are still growing. Rescuing GM from the money pit that is Opel will not do anything except weaken Fiat further and Marchionne recognizes that.

Paul Ausick


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