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BAIC wants to acquire GM’s Opel unit, paper says

FRANKFURT – China’s Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. (BAIC) has approached General Motors Co. to express interest in acquiring GM’s Opel division in Europe, reports the German newspaper Die Welt.

Advisers close to BAIC told Reuters no formal offer had been made. BAIC President Wang Dazong, an engineer who spent 20 years working at GM, has said the company aims to expand outside its Chinese home market.

GM, which has a Chinese joint venture with China’s SAIC Motor Corp., declined to comment on the report that BAIC may be interested.

GM CEO Dan Akerson was one of only two GM board directors who voted against keeping Opel in 2009, believing Europe was a market dominated by national champion automakers.

GM dropped plans to spin off Opel in 2009 after months of negotiations to sell it, and embarked on a drastic restructuring to get the unit, which lost $1.6 billion last year, back on track.

BAIC, which maintains joint ventures with Hyundai Motor Co. and Mercedes-Benz, is launching its own brand.

This year, BAIC expects to complete development of a mid-sized sedan based on an old Saab 9-5 architecture it bought in 2009 from Saab Automobile AB.

BAIC paid $200 million for the assets, which also included some technology from the current Saab 9-3.



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