Holden parent company General Motors is locked in high-level negotiations over the sale of its European operations, including the Opel and Vauxhall brands, to the French-based Groupe PSA, which controls Citroen, DS and Peugeot.
The negotiations, confirmed on Tuesday, centre around plans for PSA to take a majority stake of General Motors' European subsidiary's Opel and Vauxhall in a deal that could have significant implications to the future of Holden.
The local carmaker said previously more than one third of its Australian line-up post-2017 could come from Europe, but the loss of Opel to the GM umbrella could force Holden to change course.
"PSA Group confirms that, together with General Motors, it is exploring numerous strategic initiatives aiming at improving its profitability and operational efficiency, including a potential acquisition of Opel," Groupe PSA said in a statement, stopping short of revealing how far the talks had gone.
"There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached."
In response, GM said the pair had been working together since 2012.
"Within this framework, General Motors and Groupe PSA regularly examine additional expansion and cooperation possibilities, as well. Groupe PSA and General Motors confirm they are exploring numerous strategic initiatives aiming at improving profitability and operational efficiency, including a potential acquisition of Opel Vauxhall by PSA," GM said.
Like PSA, GM stressed that the sale is far from a done deal.
The negotiations revolve around full merger of operations between Opel, Vauxhall, Citroen, Peugeot and DS, and come after previous attempts to closely align the operations of the German and French car makers.
GM has been particularly active in recent years in seeking a broad-based co-operation with Peugeot in a bid to cut costs and improve profitability at Opel and Vauxhall.
However, a full-blown merger between the US car making giant and Peugeot was torpedoed in 2013, when GM suddenly sold a seven percent stake in the French government-owned car maker.
European automotive industry experts contacted by TMR suggest PSA's Chinese partner Dongfeng could play a decisive role, including the provision of financial assistance, in the possible purchase of Opel/Vauxhall.
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