Opel Negotiators May Head To U.S.

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's Economy Ministry may send a team of negotiators to Washington this week after reviewing investors' plans for General Motors Corp.'s European Opel unit, a spokesman said Monday.

Economy Ministry spokesman Felix Probst said the team might travel to the U.S. after reviewing detailed plans for Ruesselsheim-based car maker Adam Opel AG that are to be submitted by Wednesday.

Italy's Fiat Group SpA wants to make GM Europe, including Opel, part of a global powerhouse also including Chrysler LLC.

As a possible alternative, Canadian auto parts maker Magna International has said it is in talks about options for Opel that might include taking a minority stake, but otherwise has so far given few details.

On Friday, representatives of the European Opel Dealer Association said they hope to help save the European auto maker and secure a minority stake by investing up to euro500 million ($675.9 million).

"If it makes sense after an initial review of the concepts to be submitted Wednesday by potential investors, the Economy Ministry will send a negotiating delegation to the U.S.A.," Probst said.

Probst said negotiators would hope to secure support from the White House and GM to allow a suitable investor to embark on a "permanent, sustainable solution" to keep Opel afloat, but declined to offer any further details on the case they might make.

"It depends to a great extent on what is in these concepts," Probst said.

Probst said plans for the trip were not complete, including whether negotiators might travel to Detroit to meet with GM executives in addition to Washington.

Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg may be among the negotiators, Probst said.

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