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General Motors is to sell Opel / Vauxhall to Magna

GM will sell a 55% stake in the new Opel to Magna and Russia’s Sberbank. Employees will hold a 10% stake and GM will keep the rest.

Magna has said that it will keep all four German plants open, but it has suggested it could wind down production at a plant in Antwerp. British unions have expressed concern about the long-term future of Vauxhall's 5,500 UK workers and its two British plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port. Magna has also suggested shifting some production from a plant in Zaragosa in Spain back to Germany.

Opel employs a total of 54,500 workers across Europe, with 25,000 based in Germany. Its Vauxhall brand employs 5,500 people in the UK, primarily at its two British plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port.

Germany had been pushing for the sale to Magna, which is backed by Russia's Sberbank. The government has already lent 1.5bn euros to Opel, and will now put up an additional 3bn euros in loan guarantees for Magna.

The sale to Magna is being seen as a victory for German chancellor Angela Merkel - who said she was "very pleased" about it - just two weeks before the national election.

What are the implications for Europe’s motor industry?