Concerns over United Kingdom jobs as GM considers selling Vauxhall and Opel

After making billions of dollars in losses since the start of the century, General Motors may be ready to off load Opel to French automaker PSA Group for about $1 billion, according to analysts at Evercore ISI.

France's PSA Group, maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, says it's exploring a "potential acquisition" of Opel, the money-losing European business of General Motors Co.

The negotiations with Peugeot are understood to have involved Detroit-based GM executives, without any input from GM Europe officials.

The PSA Group is to take a majority stake in GM's European brands, Opel and Vauxhall.

In response, GM said the pair had been working together since 2012.

During the automotive crisis, GM came close to selling its European operations, which haven't turned an annual profit since 1999.

A combination would create a manufacturer with about 16 percent of the European vehicle market, pushing past Renault SA to become the region's second-biggest auto group after Volkswagen AG.

A combination between the two would have around 16% of the European auto market, and would take PSA (pugoy) above its French rival Renault (rnsdf).

The move would see the French firm take control of GM brands Vauxhall and Opel and mark a complete withdrawal from Europe by General Motors, who announced a $257m (£206m) pre-tax loss from its European operations in 2016. An even larger SUV model, conceived to replace the Zafira, is also planned, although it is based on the same in-house General Motors platform as the new second-generation Insignia. One scenario already raised by General Motors sources in discussions with Autocar is the possibility of a sweeping consolidation of Vauxhall operations in the United Kingdom, with the brand name resigned to history and being replaced by Opel - a move that was seriously considered by General Motors following the financial crisis of 2009 but ultimately decided against.

Vauxhall and its European sister brand Opel could be bought by the company which owns Peugeot, Citroen and DS Automobiles.

The announcement from PSA, which is 14% owned by the French state, comes a week after USA carmaker GM reported a loss of $257m (£206m) from its European operations a year ago.

The French government holds a 14% stake in PSA, as does the Peugeot family.

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