VIENNA - General Motors may build its next-generation Sintra minivan in Europe rather than import it from the USA.
GM sources say the preferred production site is Magna-Steyr-Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz, Austria. Opel's factory in Ruesselsheim, Germany, is also being considered.
Magna-Steyr would need to build a new plant in Graz to produce 70,000-80,000 minivans annually.
The proposal was discussed last week at a Magna International board of directors meeting near Vienna. A final decision by GM is not expected until next spring.
Sales of US-built Sintras in Europe have lagged behind expectations since the minivan was introduced in February 1997.
GM says unavailability of diesel versions until recently held down volume. At the launch, GM said it expected to sell 40,000 in the first year. A spokesman said the target for non-diesels was only 20,000-25,000. Sales this year are near last year's pace of 21,496 units.
The minivan is built at a GM plant in Doraville, Georgia. It has been subject to quality problems, and a German car magazine last year questioned its safety.
The Sintra was designed jointly by engineers in Detroit and Germany. It is sold in the USA as the Chevrolet Venture, Pontiac Trans Sport and Oldsmobile Silhouette.
Magna Europe confirmed that talks were taking place. GM Europe declined to comment.
Magna-Steyr builds Chrysler Voyager minivans at the Eurostar joint venture. Magna-Steyr said it would not add a new project without speaking to existing customers.