GM revealed on Friday that its board has still not picked a winning bidder for Opel after convening to discuss the options. Chief Executive Fritz Henderson and fellow executives are reportedly backing the consortium led by Magna, the Canadian car parts manufacturer, however, according to the Wall Street Journal, GM’s board said a competing offer from Belgian investment group RHJ International SA should be taken more seriously.
The struggling car maker faces pressure from the British and German governments, which are at loggerheads over the bids for its European business. Both proposals will lead to the loss of around 10,000 jobs. Vauxhall employs around 5,000 workers at two sites in the UK but Opel employs 25,000 people in Germany which is half of GM Europe’s total workforce.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is said to prefer the bid from Magna International, backed by Russia’s state-owned Sberbank, because fewer of the cuts would fall in Germany than the rival proposal from RHJ.
British Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, has urged the GM board to make an “objective, commercial decision” that will secure the long-term viability of both Opel and Vauxhall.
“This decision, above all, needs to secure the long-term viability of both Opel and Vauxhall in the UK and should be not be distorted by political considerations in any one country,” he said in a written statement.