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Chinese car maker in bidding for Opel

GENERAL Motors Corp yesterday confirmed Chinese auto maker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co has joined the bidding for its Opel unit.

However, Maggie He, a spokeswoman for GM China, said it was not in a position to release bid details.

Reuters yesterday reported Beijing Automotive was looking to acquire a 51-percent stake in Opel for 660 million euros (US$921 million).

If its bid is successful, Beijing Automotive plans to cut 7,584 jobs in Europe and close a factory in Antwerp, the report said.

It would also import 60,000 Opel sedans to the Chinese market between 2010 and 2011 and, from 2012, invest 2.25 billion euros in establishing production lines in China to manufacture 500,000 Opels before 2015. It would also aim to set up 400 Opel dealerships in China.

The bid comes as Detroit-based GM is considering the sale of Opel to Canadian auto parts manufacturer Magna International Inc.

Earlier this week, GM Europe President Carl-Peter Forster said negotiations with Magna were going well, and he hoped the sale would be completed by middle this month.

Although Magna, backed by Russian partners, is still considered the front-runner, Italy's Fiat SpA and Brussels-based RHJ International SA also have expressed an interest in taking a stake in Opel.


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