MUNICH/TURIN - Fiat declined to comment today on a newspaper report that it could make a new bid for Opel.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung quoted sources at Fiat as saying that if the GM-Magna talks were to fail, Fiat would resume negotiations over Opel. German government sources confirmed the information, the Munich-based paper said.
The newspaper also said China's Beijing Automotive Industry Corp (BAIC), which makes Mercedes-Benz cars in Beijing in a joint venture with Daimler, could also bid again.
A Fiat spokesman said: “We don't comment on this matter.”
Fiat and BAIC were passed over when General Motors and the German government chose Magna International early Saturday as the preferred bidder for its Opel/ Vauxhall unit.
Germany has stressed that other bidders, including Fiat and BAIC, still would have a shot if they improved their bids.
"The process is still open to all the bidders," government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday.
After being criticized for doing nothing to help Fiat's bid, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Wednesday his government would be willing to intervene with Germany to support another Fiat bid if the automaker wanted.
A German official told Reuters that representatives from BAIC met members of the government on Tuesday and made clear they would "seriously consider" a more detailed bid if talks with Magna failed.
The German government has an interest in keeping up the pressure on Magna until a deal is closed that fully satisfies Berlin's demands.