Mike Stevens | May 27, 2009

ACCORDING TO UK Secretary of State for Business, Peter Mandelson, the UK Government has "not ruled out making a financial contribution" where it might help secure the future of GM subsidiary, British carmaker Vauxhall.

Mandelson's comments followed the news that Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC) had been confirmed as a bidder, along with Italian carmaker Fiat, Canada's Magna and Belgium's RHJ in the race to buy Vauxhall and Opel.

peter-mandelson

Mandelson said that he had spoken at length via telephone with GM boss Fritz Henderson, as well as GM Europe CEO Peter Forster, to confirm the UK's commitment to all of Vauxhall's production plants.

With the German Government set to announce its preferred buyer for Opel before the end of the month, Mandelson has met with Fiat and Magna to ensure his counterparts in Berlin do not respond to pressure 'at home' with a decision that would protect German jobs at the expense of British workers.

The decision on who eventually secures Opel and Vauxhall remains with owner GM, but with Germany expected to contribute billions of euros as a loan guarantee for the successful bidder, its position on the sale is of critical import.

As for Vauxhall's future, it may take more than an injection of funds from the UK government for the company to survive.

It has been suggested recently that the British manufacturer may look to take a leaf from Holden's book, importing not only Daewoo models to fill out its line-up, but potentially the Holden Commodore - already available in HSV form as the Vauxhall VXR8 - along with the Statesman and Caprice for the top end of the range.

Holden could sorely do with a new export option, with the recent retirement of Pontiac closing the door on one of the Commodore's biggest markets where it was sold in SS trim as the Pontiac G8.

[BBC]

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