Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne is ready to buy General Motors’ European Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary if GM’s alliance with Peugeot, Italian daily Il Sole-24 Ore reported, without citing sources.

Reuters noted that Opel has been a huge drag on the US company’s performance, prompting analysts to call for its disposal.

“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.

Fiat acquired a stake in Chrysler in 2009 in exchange for its small-vehicle technology and management expertise. Chrysler’s Dodge brand has just launched a new version of the Dart using a Fiat-designed 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

Fiat on Friday declined to comment to Reuters on the report.

Marchionne has said that the European auto industry needs to consolidate if it is to survive the market’s five-year slump.

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

No offer has been made to GM, the newspaper said, adding that Fiat could make an offer for Opel only if GM and Peugeot were to dissolve their alliance.

However, GM has said Opel/Vauxhall is not for sale and it is committed to relaunching the brands, Opel’s finance chief Michael Lohscheller told Reuters last month.

Fiat’s losses in Europe are offset by profits from the US market, where it controls Chrysler, giving it a huge cash pile that could be used for acquisitions.