It looks like the German government is about to announce its list of preferred bidders for Opel this week, and the list is likely to include Fiat and Magna. Why would this list be coming from Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman and not, say, GM? Because the German government will have to step in with financing guarantees when the deal is made.

Saturn fancier and parts supplier extraordinaire, Magna International, and Italian automaker Fiat S.p.A. are the likely mentions. Magna had been seen as the frontrunner until Fiat sweetened its offer recently. Another name likely to make the list is RHJ International, a Belgian holding group.

Germany wants to keep all four Opel plants running and obviously wants to prevent a complete collapse of the company, but at least one government official thinks an orderly insolvency might be a better option. Economy Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg has called the offers inadequate and has suggested that insolvency might be necessary to save some portion of the company in the long run. That hasn't sat well with other officials.

With Chrysler and GM here in the States, others think that everything should be done to avoid insolvency, and protect Opel's 25,000 workers from unemployment. GM has until June 1 to show its final restructuring plan to the U.S. government, and the sale of Opel is a large part of it. Even if the sale occurs before then, GM is seen as ever more likely to follow Chrysler into Chapter 11 however.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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