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GM and Berlin still locked in talks over European operations, Ford posts profit

US carmaker General Motors said yesterday it was still in detailed talks with both Canadian car parts firm Magna and Belgian private equity outfit RHJ International, who are looking to buy its European arm.<br /><br />GM has been considering three final offers for GM Europe &ndash; which consists of Opel in Germany and Vauxhall in the UK &ndash; submitted on Monday by Magna, RHJ and Chinese carmaker BAIC. BAIC is now out of the running.<br /><br />GM and German government officials failed to agree on a partner for GM Europe at talks held on Wednesday to discuss the offers.<br /><br />Berlin has pledged to support Magna&rsquo;s plan with &euro;3bn (&pound;2.6bn) in loan guarantees and has signaled that those funds may not be available if GM selects other bidders. British unions fear this means job losses will be centred on the UK.<br /><br />Also, rival US carmaker Ford posted a $2.3bn (&pound;1.4bn) second-quarter net profit yesterday, due to gains from a $10bn debt-reduction plan, and said it was on track to break even in 2011.<br /><br />Chief executive Alan Mulally said that, while he expects the US economy to come back in the third quarter, it is &ldquo;still very fragile&rdquo;