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IPR issues derail deal for GM's Opel unit

CHINA'S Beijing Automotive Industry Holding yesterday said intellectual property rights issues were behind its failure to reach a deal with General Motors over its Opel unit.

"In the negotiations over intellectual property, we have been in constant communications with US' General Motors," the company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

"Regrettably, both parties failed to reach agreement on (the intellectual property) issue," said the company, quoting an unnamed spokesperson.

GM's European business on Thursday said it had agreed to continue detailed talks with both Magna and RHJ International on its German unit Opel, but did not mention Beijing Auto, which had also submitted an offer.

Beijing Auto did not mention in its statement what are the next possible steps after the end of its Opel bid.

But sources told Reuters this week that the Beijing city government will fully support a bid by the company for Ford Motor's Volvo car unit if Beijing Auto failed in its quest for Opel.

Beijing Auto aims to more than double its annual vehicle sales to 2 million units by the end of 2015 from 771,639 units last year.

But the auto maker, ranked fifth in China, does not even have its own car brand. Its four-year old Mercedes-Benz car venture with Daimler AG broke even last year, and its tie-up with Hyundai Motor Co has a long way to go before catching up with top players in the market such as Volkswagen AG.

Beijing Auto did not give details on what products or technology the IPR issues were about.

Beijing Auto, in its bid, had pledged to maintain GM's stake in Opel, to ensure Opel's market share in Europe is stable and to support Opel's growth in the Chinese market.


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