Fiat’s CEO announced he is willing to buy GM’s Opel if its alliance with Peugeot dissolves.

“Marchionne’s plan is to get Opel practically free, not unlike what happened with Chrysler and not unlike its offer for Opel in 2009,” Friday’s newspaper report said.

GM’s European arm, Opel, has been quite a burden for the US automakers, prompting analysts to call for its disposal. Fiat got a stake in Chrysler in 2009 in exchange for its management expertise and small-vehicle technology. Marchionne said that the European auto industry needs to consolidate to be able to survive the 5-year economic slump.

“We have a collective responsibility in the industry to carry out a progressive restructuring at the European level,” he said last month.

Fiat hasn’t made an offer for Opel yet, but it is expected to make one only if GM and Peugeot were to dissolve their alliance. According to Opel’s finance chief Michael Lohscheller, the automaker is not for sales and GM plans to relaunch the brand. Although Fiat has been hit by great loses in Europe, its profits from the US market, where it has Chrysler, bring huge cash pile that could be used for new acquisitions, such as Opel.


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