General Motors Europe's Opel and Ontario-based Magna reportedly are in advanced talks for the supplier and contract assembler to build the convertible version of the new generation Astra.

GM has so far rolled out the five-door hatchback and wagon; the three-door hatch is expected to make its public debut at the Paris motor show later this week.

Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper said a final decision had not been made but sources had said the talks were at an advanced stage.

Relations between supplier and automaker had been strained after GM abruptly decided not to sell Opel after Magna had spent much time and money on a bid.

The paper said that GM earlier this year paid Magna's Russian partner Sberbank compensation connected with the uncompleted deal though the matter was settled out of court. An Opel spokesman declined to comment.

The Astra convertible - to be sold under Opel and Vauxhall brands - would be good news for Magna's Magna Steyr contract assembly operation in Graz, Austria. In the last couple of years it has lost European Chrysler minivan production - the vehicles are now shipped from North America - and other work - some for Mercedes - has ended as automakers revamped or redesigned model ranges.

Magna Steyr also lost the new generation BMW X3 SUV to the automaker's US factory but picked up the automaker's Mini Countryman contract instead.

According to Handelsblatt, a proposed deal to assemble Porsche Cayman and Boxster models did not proceed and Germany's federal cartel office hindered Magna's planned purchase of the roof making section of insolvent rival Karmann.

It's not unusual for automakers to have specialist contract assemblers build the convertible versions of model lines otherwise made in-house - Karmann will build the next Volkswagen Golf cabriolet due out in 2011, according to the paper.

The outgoing Astra convertible was built at the Opel plant in Antwerp but the previous generation was outsourced. Finnish company Valmet has built 9-3 convertibles for Saab and Boxters for Porsche.

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