Fiat boss goes to Germany in drive for Opel

FIAT&rsquo;S deputy chairman is due to meet the German economy minister today, ahead of tomorrow&rsquo;s decision on a preferred buyer for General Motors&rsquo; (GM) European unit Opel.<br /><br />John Elkann will meet Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg as the Italian carmaker seeks to create a three-way tie-up with Chrysler and Opel.<br /><br />It is up against Canadian car parts group Magna and Belgian group RHJ international in its bid for the GM subsidiary. <br /><br />Germany is under pressure to choose a buyer for Opel as its parent company races to meet a 1 June deadline to restructure. <br /><br />Magna emerged as the favourite to win Opel last week, but Fiat is understood to have since improved its offer.<br /><br />GM has the last word on who buys Opel, but the US administration and Germany are also involved in the talks with the buyers. The German government is being asked to cough up billions of euros-worth of loan guarantees as part of any deal.<br /><br />Meanwhile, the German luxury carmaker Porsche was yesterday deflecting talk of bankruptcy, after it admitted it had borrowed hundreds of millions of euros from its subsidiary Volkswagen (VW) &ndash; and needs to borrow billions more. <br /><br />The &euro;700m (&pound;616m) loan expires at the end of September, but Porsche insists it is not on the verge of bankruptcy. It is in talks with banks to secure an extra &euro;1.75bn in loans.<br /><br />Porsche has been in talks with VW, in which it has a 51 per cent stake, about creating an integrated company. But discussions fell apart when VW said it couldn&rsquo;t help solve the ailing carmaker&rsquo;s financial problems.